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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    not sure why lines thru some of text ! Sorry
     
  2. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Andy, my personal view is that most of the 10/12 as individuals are highly skilled and are people we should be having to help us. They are new blood and some are even youthful. I would really like some of them as trustees. However, they are part of a group with a stated aim of dissolving the trust and using the shareholding against the plc. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, it leads to yet more turmoil and the current trustees don't support that approach. Hence we don't support the nominations.
    A solution has been proposed whereby the 10 stand down and after the AGM those who are genuinely interested in the work of the WSSRT put themselves through the selection process. This means we could build a coherent board with the right mix of skills and experience to take us forward. This is a genuine and well-meant offer that has many advantages and is supported by the current trustees. It enables a real team to be built and takes all the heat out of the situation. It assuages the fears of the existing trustees, shows a professional approach and enables us to capitalise on the skills of the ten.
    It is the approach espoused by the charity commission.
    Unfortunately, the ten have not taken up this offer.
    Ian C.
     
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  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I fully embrace my ignorance on this, but why not? Does the accreditation go towards the organisation rather than the museum? And if the former, why would a merger/new charity struggle to achieve this? I can well see it might push accreditation back by a year or two, but surely a small price to pay? Your last statement is far from impossible, several railways have this status including the NYMR and the IoW, I'd suggest they're certainly on quite different ends of the "relative considered importance of heritage" spectrum.

    The WSRA also has an educational remit. The "Low priority compared with ... operating a safe railway" is an argument against handing over those activities to the Plc, but not another charity, which will have to be classed as educational I suspect in any case, regardless of its final form. I really don't see the educational focus of the WSSRT being lost with a merger.

    I absolutely agree, the coaches need a new solution quickly. A non-rail connected building somewhere in the area could certainly be a solution, but it doesn't solve the labour and skills problem, which seems to me the stumbling block.

    Again, I really don't see that the coaches would inevitably become low priority if subsumed by a larger charity. As above, this seems like an argument to not hand them over to the Plc who have more important thing to be concerned about than heritage carriages, but not a charity that the current WSSRT could have enormous influence in shaping to make sure its current priorities are set in stone. Surely a whole railway charity with heritage carriages as a high priority project is achievable?

    In all the arguments against the WSSRT merging, those opposing it seem to labour under the impression that the WSSRT would have no control over what they see as a process which would be hurtled through at 100 mph, with none of their concerns or priorities taken into account. Everything I have read from those proposing the merger suggests the compete opposite.
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Where have they stated this please? Thanks.

    I asked this earlier but you may have missed it, it seems particularly relevant to the above. What would the response of the current board be if resolution 7 passed, but the makeup of the board remained the same, or at least "the 10" were in a minority?
     
  5. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Ian, You seem to be ignoring the fact that, as I have pointed out before, even if the "ten" are elected to the Trust they cannot proceed with either dissolving it or amalgamating without the members approving the appropriate motions. Whether that is likely, I can't predict, but if this is what you fear it would suggest that you do not have faith in your existing members.
    Mike
     
  6. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    And that is due to the dilution of the voting shares over many many years
     
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  7. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    Really ? Where did you hear that ?
     
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  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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  9. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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  10. daveb

    daveb Member

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  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Hammer, nail, head.

    As a visitor I don't care what the vision is, what locos they have, what coaches they restore or what colour they paint their stations. I just want to visit the line and enjoy what is on offer.

    But were I a supporter who paid/donated money regularly or held any position on any affiliated group I'd for sure want to know more than that and understand the mechanism whereby I could express a view even though I would understand that my view would stand alongside many others.

    The past squillion pages simply confirms that nobody has a clue about this or at least, not in any coherent form that allows everyone to align with that vision or not. And into this void steps a body of opinion, that may or may not be accurate, to suggest that the line should be GWR and nothing else. It should also be populated with specific locomotives etc. etc. and the plc should determine this.

    Given that my view counts for nothing I'm happy to express it. I think the PLC should have no say in such things. Its job is to manage and run the railway and its infrastructure. A single affiliated charity should set the vision and from that establish the principles by which locomotives are acquired (or borrowed) alongside the rolling stock and prioritised restoration programme to include fund raising.

    There's something to chew over. We need another few thousands posts. :)
     
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, but nonetheless they have said where they are going for now.
     
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Exactly right IMHO - sums it up in the proverbial nutshell.
    Sadly, I fear that it will not come to pass....:-(
     
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  14. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Sorry Ian, perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you are saying but you seem to be saying that the Charities Commission now advocate not having open elections where people can stand for a Members vote but a system of interviews and permission from the incumbents first, followed by the existing Trustees deciding to co-opt or not. If that's the case why bother to have an AGM and elections at all ?

    I have to say personally I’m sceptical, going back to the Robin Wichard example, you will recall you promised Robin Wichard the same thing, in that if he didn’t push it and insist on standing for election at the AGM you would co-opt him after the AGM. He took your offer and then you refused to consider co-opting him later. Memories linger on the WSR as we all know so surely the ‘10’ could fear the same thing (I’m sure they will make their views known at some point as I can’t speak for them).

    I’m really, really sorry to say this but this can only ever come across as the current WSSRT Trustees controlling who is allowed on the Board instead of the Members as it removes them from the voting process.

    From a wider and more pragmatic context, is this position of asking the 10 to just give up and trust you going to resolve anything? Will it help in bringing peace or is it just going to escalate things to another level, because the alternative to your plan is going to be to just look to replace you all which then also allows “a real team to be built”? and these two opposing views will only mean the war continues.

    This is beginning to look like the ex6 all over again I’m afraid to say, so we can expect winners and losers at the AGM and then a number of EGM’s and some other challenges to follow.

    You will of course take the path you choose to but please don’t carry on with win/lose and look for a win/win instead. There must be a middle way here to satisfy everybody's honour.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  15. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    Quite. The charity holding shares sets the vision; the plc is an operating company to carry that out, and it must respect its stakeholders.

    Comparing with my railway, there is a tendency for the charity shareholding to get watered down, and the operating company to think it's the prime mover in the business. In fact I enquired with our charity whether we could do something, and it replied that it had to ask the plc first!

    I had a look at the company objects in the statutes of both entities, and that for the charity said : 'Construct and maintain a railway museum' and that for the plc was as wide as possible, it could do anything, it could even sell bananas. To stop that veering off course, you need the shareholders and volunteers to give it steer. The plc needs to be responsible to someone.
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That may or may not be reasonable depending on what is being asked for though, as a general point.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don’t understand @snappertim point about the risk to museum accreditation under a larger charity. I’d point to the Bluebell Railway Museum as an example of an MLA accredited museum, independent of any status of its parent body, the Bluebell Railway Trust. It is possible or a whole railway to gain such accreditation, but not mandatory; nor is it related to the status or size of the parent charity.

    Tom
     
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  18. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Andy, we know each other a little so you should know I personally do not want a win/lose situation. A win/win is always better. I thought what we had proposed was just that. The advantages I listed fitted all.
    Please stand in the shoes of all parties and describe a win/win situation. I genuinely want to find one.
    Ian
     
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  19. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    I prefaced my posting by stating I am a layman In these matters.
    My instinct, history and common senses tells me that the museum and education aspects of the WSR are best served by Trustees who are focused on these matters and not directly involved in wider issues. I would have thought accreditation would be more straightforward as a result.
    Still common sense matters little these days!
     
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  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well, you're quite likely to get the pleasure of moderating them;)
     

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