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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    Well, John, I'm amazed to learn that you didn't clarify that point when compiling your Report ....
     
  2. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    If the volunteer members aren't interested in the direction the organisation is going they'll shrug their shoulders anyway. Unless you also intend to insist that all members must vote...
    And those who are not members of an organisation can still join if they feel they wish to influence the direction the organisation is taking.
     
  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    But it still ought to help prevent factionalism. It's harder for it be portrayed as "them and us" if all working members of the railway are also members of the support organisation.
     
  4. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    Returning to operational aspects, I read on one of the WSR Facebook pages that the issue with regard to the Seaward Way crossing is that the control system for it has been deemed unfit for purpose and was scheduled for upgrade or replacement last year. However that was not possible and it's now, to be done this winter. Also, it was commented that the equipment is built, ready for installation and just awaiting board approval.

    Presumably the reports that the crossing itself (barriers? lights? actuating mechanism? no idea exactly what) still needs significant work or replacement is the case, (unless I'm confused and it is only the control thats the problem..) but maybe that's not the showstopper.

    As ever, clarity would be welcomed, but seems hard to find!
     
  5. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Looks like we are beginning to narrow in on the causes of the famous West Somerset Disease.
     
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  6. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    Factionalism can set in
    I've already pointed out - should a faction arise outside a support organisation it can still join the organisation to make its point. Unless there are two or more organisations - when it's more likely to be organisation v organisation.
     
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  7. As I said upthread, the WSR's problems all stem from our long-standing disconnected structure. The Family is disfunctional at all levels as a result.

    Apparently the answer is for the plc to create and control a new charity while the existing duplicating membership organisations, with their overlapping objects, remain disconnected and isolated (a.k.a. independent).

    Let's hope one of the PDG members has asked for restructuring to be included on Wednesday's meeting agenda because, as Mel Hillman (PDG secretary) explained last time, if it ain't requested it don't get discussed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2020
  8. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I think with the FR, there is a very clearly defined relationship between board, society, and membership. This was done early on. Although I think there have been periods in the 80s and late 90s that have been very unhappy.

    Nonetheless there seems to be a very clear understanding of how the society, the company and the smaller groups such as heritage, parks and gardens, or a volunteer group who take on say the overhaul of a loco all fit together as part of the whole.

    As I recall, one of the advantages of not requiring volunteers to be members of the society came with the deviation. Many of the deviants (not sure if that is the correct term but it will do) had no interest in trains or railways but the project was their motivation. Perhaps if they had been compelled to be society members first they might not have signed up.

    I think my point here is that being a member or not being a member is of less importance than having clearly defined structures and well understood relationships so no one is treading on anyone’s toes.

    The Earl or Alco might be in the back of the shed at the moment but no one is worrying that they might be sold off, no one is worrying that P&G or the Gravity Train people are going to be kicked out. And that is no different to every other functioning railway, the wagon people at the SVR, MHR, GCR are not wondering if they are going to get a notice to quit out of the blue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  9. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    In recent days I have been assisting the WSR S&T Department to make a short video for WSR-TV explaining what is to happen with Seaward Way crossing and the associated signalling. We have also had valuable assistance from friends in Network Rail as you will see. I have all the material 'in the can' but need to find a clear space to edit it. As I am just about to start a 5-day employment tribunal case, please forgive me if that is a day or two away. Any delay in the video appearing is entirely down to my work schedule. It should answer many questions with the answers coming from those who will perform or manage the work.

    Robin
     
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  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Awaited with interest- hope you don't encounter any unexpected 'barriers' in your production :)
     
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  11. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me the ideal is a new(amalgamated) charity that controls the PLC. I think the PLC know this too, and will try any means to prevent it
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    That'd be "deviationists", sir, irrespective of any individual's personal pecadillos! :)

    The separation 'twixt the two halves (running railway and construction of the deviation) dated from (rather before) "Day One" and lay largely with FfR management (incl Mr Garraway), who had expressed understandable concern over a potential distraction from the core business of restoring existing kit (and operating the line, naturally) and were insistent on a clear demarcation, ensuring "no poaching of FfR volunteers". IMO, it was a thoroughly sensible approach, which benefitted both 'sides' in equal measure. Recall .... at 'first sod' no-one in the heritage movement had been crazy bold enough to undertake anything remoteñy on such a scale
     
  13. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think that strategy rather depends on how the charity exercises that control, and whether "the right people" perform that function. Hence the manana approach to implementing the recommendations.
     
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  14. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Robin, I shall look forward to seeing this.
     
  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Where I think there is a good lesson from the Ffestiniog it is that in the past they made a mistake with their choice of GM/Chief Executive, however, they were able to get rid of him relatively quickly and set about repairing the damage he had caused, even if some of the legacies of his decisions still rankle. It was clear that there were strong enough mechanisms in place to get rid a wrong choice.

    I do not see in any of the measures proposed by John Bailey any way to improve the accountability of senior management to the members of the WSR and to ensure that the board is accountable to the members. It seems to me that some think that the railway exists for the board and because of the board, and the membership should be grateful that the PLC have given them a railway to play trains on.

    The reality is that, unless you are the PDR, SMR or Breacon, no membership means no volunteers means no railway. Volunteers, members or not, need to stop being taken for granted as ‘warm bodies’ and treated as valued stakeholders, who have the right and the ability to hold management to account.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You can have a membership body which has an operating subsidiary; or a company that has an affiliated support group. It is pretty clear to me that only one of those can lead to a "peaceful Somerset".

    Tom
     
  17. Jill Jackson

    Jill Jackson New Member

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    Went to the Mid-Hants this weekend. 53808 was in the shed at Ropley undergoing major repairs. Looks like the condition it left Minehead was not good
     
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Are you sure? What major repairs, to what? I thought it had all been put back together nicely before leaving.
     
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  19. Jill Jackson

    Jill Jackson New Member

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    Yes lots of motion parts off
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Major repairs? Motion parts off doesn’t necessarily mean major repairs.
     

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