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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    As I recall, that was the stated reason at the time I joined, although we've already gone round that here and concluded that you're perfectly well insured on the WSR simply by holding a WSR Plc ID card. Whether in a very roundabout way the membership fee is seen as contributing towards that insurance cost I don't know. I'm well aware the obviously a charity couldn't pay the insurance costs of the Plc, but it gives the trust more money to potentially grant to the Plc for approved projects, which the Plc itself then wouldn't have to spend, thus displacing money around, if that makes sense? Note - that bit is purely speculation on my part.
     
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  2. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    That tells you Everything that is Wrong with the WSR - sadly!

    No can do attitude
     
  3. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Totally disagree with that, with my time at the SVR working on the 50’s I had to be a SVR Member rather than a Fifty fund member. Same as doing work at Butterley with the 20’s
     
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    It seems to me that while the PLC shares have no value, surely the value to the WSRA & WSSRT is their ability to influence the actions of the PLC?
     
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  5. Mike S

    Mike S Member

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    With all this 'down time' that has to be one of my greatest fears for any railway that hasn't run so far this year. For some folk that avoid some of the cooler months it may not be far off 12 months now since they were last 'active'. Almost certainly there will be many who will have either found other things to do or just decided they've done their bit and packed it in, especially in roles where regaining competence means many hours of rule book reading, exams and practical assessments. In addition some training/assesments can be a challenge thanks to distancing measures too*. Add in to that all the political carnage of one or two outfits in particular and surely there has to be many who are sitting around thinking 'do I need this any longer?' I really hope this isn't the case but it has to be a matter of very serious concern surely?

    Not everybody is as dedicated as those great folk that are out pulling up weeds every weekend. It is those that are not at that level of connection with their railway or those who are (or once were?) but have been treated poorly who's potential loss is what worries me.

    Mike


    *I have seen some of the above on a railway that I am involved with that is running services with less time for folk to sit and ponder over things....
     
  6. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Quite a few Roger and I suspect that a good number probably also have just walked away and found another way to spend their leisure time. Their are plenty of opportunities out there.
     
  7. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I wrote "the cause" bearing in mind previous discussions about the "West Somerset Disease" on this very thread or one of its predecessors, where it was discussed, probably ad nauseam. One conclusion that was reached was that the cause had to be something peculiar to the WSR, as no other railway seemed to suffer from it so badly and I thought that "structure plus secrecy" fitted that bill. Yes, there are other things wrong, but they are not peculiar to the WSR.
    Is it intended that the members of the old BRPS become shareholders of the new company?
    There seems to be quite a lot of resistance to the idea of compulsory membership and I don't really see the need. Those volunteers who want to get involved with the running of the railway will join the membership body anyway and those who don't will not care that they have no say. Alternatively, volunteers could be gifted membership after a certain period of volunteering.
    It seems to me that much of the trouble on the WSR has arisen because, pre-Coombes, the WSRA was similar to the Plc as an organisation and similar to the WSSRT as a charity, without there being any formal relationship between the bodies. This meant that there was always a potential issue with internal competition which exacerbated any issue that resulted in people taking sides. It seems unlikely that compulsory membership of the WSRA would have done anything to alleviate this, and indeed, could have made matters worse, being a source of resentment: "Why should I have to pay to be a member of an association I disagree with?"
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Which may be another reason to prefer a non-charitable member body as the owner of the operating subsidiary?

    In our own case, there are shares in the company held by individuals, so the society is the majority shareholder, not the outright shareholder. What that does mean is that from time to time some plc shares may be left to the Charitable Trust in a legacy. When that occurs, the Trust swaps them with the society at face value, which provides cash to the charity and (in a small, and probably inconsequential way) increases the society shareholding. It does have two useful effects: firstly it means the Trust never ends up with shares in the company; secondly it crystallises the value of a potential bequest which is presumably useful for tax purposes when considering the value of someone's estate. Of course, it is possible because, for the amounts being spoken of, the Society always has cash every year raised from member subscriptions, since the Society is a net generator of cash on the railway (it has very low unavoidable outgoings, having no paid staff, no premises and no operational responsibility slitty).

    Tom
     
  9. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    This is a rather bold claim!
     
  10. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Covid has had a great impact on many people, far more than is realised I believe. Apart from the 'health' issues mentioned on tv and in the press there are other areas of life - work, club, church etc. - that many people are reluctant to return to. Five months and more is a long time and many people will have adjusted to a new way of life. My wife and I have only partly returned to how things were prior to March this year. Weekly shopping is now ordered online and delivered as are many other items we need. No spontaneous purchases anymore. Walks are shorter and safe distanced where needed although the gardens have been transformed and my garden railway rebuilt. (It needed it after fifteen years in situ ;);)) We have been fortunate in having has a warm and glorious summer.
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It's been a while since it was heavily discussed (basically at the 2019 AGM) and I've forgotten all the detail now, but the intention was for it to be as seamless as possible to members. I can't remember now the details of precisely what you would be buying when you paid subs, since an annual subscription seems a different beast to a small shareholding.

    Tom
     
  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    >>>>If dealing with welcome new applications is beyond the ability of the Trust then you have to wonder what on earth is within their ability.
    Some organisations would jump at the prospect of new applications. Is their 'phone a friend' network of helpers so sparse that they can't (allegedly) deal with increased demand? Pathetic.

    >>>>That tells you Everything that is Wrong with the WSR - sadly! No can do attitude

    I must confess that my initial reaction to that news from the WSSRT impression was along similar lines. However, on further thought...

    Imagine that you are a volunteer of a relatively small body, doing a task that requires you to spend a small amount of time perhaps once or twice a month handling an application and the necessary fee. Suddenly you are swamped with large numbers in a very short period of time and simply do not have the 'private time' available to ramp up almost overnight to handle a far greater workload. I can well imagine how the process may collapse very quickly under the strain, so I have sympathy for whoever that person is. Whether his/her colleagues in the WSSRT could have swung into action to help is a different matter, not forgotten also that handling membership applications may have GDPR implications and therefore constraints on who might be permitted to handle/view the paperwork.
     
  13. WSR plc shares held by WSRA were acquired in a similar fashion.
     
  14. You say PLC shares are not tradeable but I have acquired such shares from a third party and successfully applied to the registrar to transfer them into my name. Some time ago now, but money definitely changed hands!
     
  15. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    In that case, might it not have been politic simply to have warned potential members that there would be a delay in processing their applications, rather than closing applications altogether.
     
  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I suspect then the problem would be that new applicants would lack any reassurance as to whether or not their membership would be active before the forthcoming AGM. At least by 'stemming the tide' there is a chance for them to catch up on the back-log in time.
     
  17. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I'm not suggesting this was the arrangement, but, if members could be issued one share in the company for every year they had been a member and continue to receive a share a year, they would be buying shares with their subscription. There's probably some horrid flaw with this proposal, like there is with most bright ideas.
     
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That is absolutely fair, especially where that individual is also fulfilling at least one other role.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Ian,

    I've heard a different version of this from a very good reliable source and it is that there has been some form of arrangement between the WSR plc board and the WSSRT that worthless shares on the death of the shareholder have been offered back to the WSR plc, and these have been transferred/registered in the name of the WSSRT. They have never been offered pro rata or at all to the WSRA in recent years. Just the WSSRT.

    It has also been suggested - and 35B alludes to this - that the WSR plc board has some 'hold' over the WSSRT because it's lease of 1st January 2017 of 50 years is invalid due to being incorrectly executed as a proper deed between the 2 companies.

    Would you be able to comment further please?
     
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  20. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    I believe it was to relieve the then Trustees of personal financial liabilities and tbereby recruit new members to join them as Directors with limited liability and therefore less worry ...... and still a registered Charity.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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