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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    That would be because they aren't working for an organisation, they are working for themselves on an activity that benefits an organisation. As a volunteer on the MHR I'm working on steam locomotives for my own enjoyment, not because I wish to join a Preservation society. If my activities are useful then great, but that isn't why I'm there.
     
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  2. FrankC

    FrankC Well-Known Member

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    They would have been covered by the corporate insurance if they were there with the permission of the company, which as Ian has explained, they clearly were.
     
  3. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I seem to recall that at least one member of the WSR family has several categories of membership, with different subscription rates, one of them being for volunteers. If you're volunteering in any capacity, whether on the ground, on board the trains, or doing admin work from your own home, you should have a clear channel for expressing your views about how the railway (i.e. the "one railway") is run. If you're not a member of some sort of support organisation which has a defined role within the family, then you have only the crude option of continuing to work or walking away.
     
  4. When I first volunteered at the WSR I thought WSRA membership was a prerequisite. That wasn't a problem for me as I had chosen to join a couple of years previously. Years later I found out being in membership was not actually necessary.

    When I took over Quantock Belle rostering I quickly realised the QB volunteer records needed updating and set about gathering the necessary information. As part of that exercise I asked colleagues for their WSRA membership number. I was rather shocked to discover a significant majority were not members, despite them volunteering on WSRA's train operating WSRA commercial services. Membership is well worth having, if only to receive a regular copy of WSR Journal - especially the latest edition!
     
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  5. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I may be missing something obvious Frank but i'm struggling to see any such confirmation in Ian's post . More than happy if it is the case
     
  6. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I can't for the life of me understand why you need more than one membership organisation, every other railway seems to get by with just having one main organisation, even if it does not own the operating company, it simplifies matters. being a member of an railway preservation society is more than just the railway, its the regional meetings the shows, talks, and visits to other railways, it's also the friendships you make, i got into volunteering at the MHR, through the Woking and Guildford group, and made many friendships, some members even lived a few roads away from me , friendships that stayed for many years,
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Tom,
    The flaw in your argument is that you have not considered the Somerset conundrum. If you are volunteering, you are generally volunteering for the WSR plc and not the WSRA. The two aren't actually legally connected in any way.
     
  8. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    If I recall correctly, the WSRA used to advertise that joining gave the member the opportunity to volunteer. This gave the impression that membership was a requirement. Were you not a trustee of the WSRA at that time, albeit the only honourable one ?
     
  9. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I suspect insurance and volunteers is an area where misleading assumptions can be made especially with the set up on the WSR I'd be pretty confident that so long as volunteers are working with the knowledge and tacit approval of the owner/ lessee of the site they are working on then insurance would cover any claims against those entities arising out of death/injury suffered by the volunteers whether they are "members" or not. The fly in the ointment may be that if they have been recruited by another entity as its member a volunteer or their estate might have a claim against that other entity. It would depend on any agreement between the Charities and the PLC as to who takes supervisory responsibility for their work. It could be the extent of the Charities' own Employers and Public Liability cover that would be relevant.
    The next question is whether the volunteers would be covered by insurance in respect of claims that could be made against them e.g. as a result of their negligence causing death or injury to someone else. That almost certainly depends on whether they have been asked or instructed to carry out the work.
    A problem to which heritage railways are especially prone is individual owners or owning groups expecting to turn up and work on their items on a railway's site whenever they like. They may assume, especially if they are members, that, in the case of the WSR, either the PLC or the relevant Charity's insurance protects them both for anything done to them, any loss or damage to their items or any liability they may incur to others. Unless they are clearly engaged by the site owner/lessee to undertake such work investigation into with my own home railway's insurance suggests that is unlikely. Furthermore it may be their legal duty to have their own employers' liability cover in place for any volunteers working on their projects.
    In short there are probably people running some substantial uninsured risks that they are blissfully unaware of.
     
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  10. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Brian, it has never been a requirement in order to volunteer for the plc. I suspect that what your are referring to is volunteering for the wsra on the QB, at williton or at the rally etc. However, I really cannot see how it would have been enforced.
    Ian
     
  11. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Its the old WSRA saga again, I was volunteering on a line not a million miles from the WSR before the Covid 19 crisis, there were quite a few ex WSR volunteers as well, when we would meet up at the end of the day on more than one occasion it was said "there will never be harmony " on the WSR while the WSRA exist.
     
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  12. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Martin, see post #31817
    Ian
     
  13. Indeed. That issue will be resolved on creation of one charity with an operating subsidiary. Disconnection between existing WSR Family members is the crux of our problems, it always has been. WSSRT existing outside of a new otherwise optimum structure, with its overlapping objects, would perpetuate disconnection.
     
  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    To give a contrary example, consider those who act as Guides in the Gauge Museum. The Museum contents belong to the WSRA, but is managed by the WSSRT. For HOPS purposes etc it seems that volunteers are considered to be part of the 'WSSRT' Department and Staff IDs are authorised (or not) by the WSSRT.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Which takes us back to post 31849 and who are you working for and whose insurance applies?
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It all sounds like complete madness!

    I'd love to see how the SMS defines the chain of command up to ultimate accountability for the competence of staff and the standard of their work.

    To take a couple of examples: If you are working on one of the WSSRT-owned heritage carriages and need to use a power tool in order to machine some piece of wood: who is responsible for assessing your competence, and maintaining a record of that competence? Or to take another example - suppose you are working for the WSRA on a WSRA loco overhaul, with the aim that the loco runs on the railway when complete? Who validates the the work has been done to the correct standard?

    Tom
     
  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    And whose insurance is engaged when the power tool slips, and that 999 call is needed?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  18. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Chris, some of the content belongs to the wsra. A lot belongs to the trust and other groups or individuals.
    Ian
     
  19. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    No. As I said before, everybody working on the railway (and that includes the museums) must have a valid plc staff ID card. There are no two ways about it. So no confusion whatsoever.
     
  20. Bionic_Woman

    Bionic_Woman New Member

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    Are you sure they said 'WSRA'? Just checking.....
     
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