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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's what my clerk is for.

    Robin
     
  2. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I seem to recall that last year (?) that the cameras gave us a live stream of a pway train where the ballast wagons had dumped the ballast in the wrong place. As you say, if people are worried about mistakes being made wouldn't you keep the cameras off all the time since there is always the possibility of something being seen by someone.

    That said, I will say that crossing renewal is not necessarily my choice of lockdown viewing but I do understand why those interested in the WSR and how things are going would want to see how things are progressing without necessarily having to go through all the hoops of secret handshakes to get information.
     
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  3. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Strangely different from NetworkRail's approach.

    Robin
     
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  4. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    They are replacing a level crossing, a boring structure that nobody notices the majority of the time, nothing sinister is going on.

    Did the SVR do a day by day update when Northwood Lane was replaced? I believe they actually had to fund that as well as the lane was there prior to preservation.
     
  5. Windsor branch line

    Windsor branch line New Member

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    Many thanks for the information am sure others have found what you have to say as interesting as I have.And thanks to Railcam for job you do.
     
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  6. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody New Member

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    +1
     
  7. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    The automatic crossing signals at Northwood were installed well before the advent of National Preservation, and indeed before wider public usage of the Web to disseminate information. The works were however fully covered in the house magazine. Funding for the crossing works came out of the capital expenditure budget.

    The more recent works on Falling Sands viaduct have had wall-to-wall coverage on many different media platforms. The SVR realise that engagement with the public, and staff alike, is essential in this day and age.

    Andy
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's not the only blog though, nor the only time the railway had updates via a blog. Several departments have had, and continue to have regular blog reports on activities for many years now.

    As another dabbler in the art of heritage railway communication, I'd slightly disagree with you here Tom. All perfectly true for the way you and the Bluebell do it, (and also @D1039 and the SVR), but you don't necessarily have to do it like that. With our format of each department having its own blog, all that still holds true to get good overall coverage of all stuff going on at the railway, but it's not as interconnected.

    So for instance, whilst it would be a mammoth task for a single person on a railway with poor communication to start trying to create something like the SVR and Bluebell do every month, it's a lot more achievable for them to start up a blog in whatever format with weekly updates that relate to their department. Then, someone in another department will see it and think "That's a good idea, we ought to have one of those", and off they go.

    There seems to be a bit of that going on at the WSR with Facebook updates, but whilst I understand the merits, I'm not sure that's really the way to go, at least not posting directly into a more general Facebook group. The unofficial website, excellent as it is, doesn't quite fulfil that function either. In fact it serves much like a generic Facebook group for a railway, with random photos from all over the railway in a stream. Which is great, but it doesn't serve the same purpose that a blog or a newsletter does.
     
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  9. baldbazza

    baldbazza Member

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    Interesting. One solitary post that says something positive about the plc and suddenly I'm a "people like you", just because I have the temerity to point out to the more self-entitled amongst us that information is actually available to those who can be bothered to look.

    I'm not suggesting in any way that the WSR's publicity is good - of course it could, and needs to, improve, and in the past I've been highly critical of it - I'm merely suggesting that it's less bad now than was. (I'm not referring here to Steve Edge's ever-excellent site of course).

    The world is not black and white. People aren't either 100% supportive of everything WSR or 100% against. But I wouldn't expect 'people like you' to understand that.
     
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I'd suggest that attittude matters as much as method. There are a multitude of methods and platforms available - from social media, newsletters, blogs (independent or linked to a main website) but none of this matters if the dominant attitude is that information is to be tightly controlled and not shared. It would be weird if you, @Jamessquared or @D1039 in response to questions stonewalled, refused to answer questions or declared that information was for certain people only, but it would not be unexpected from the WSR. It is another way of reinforcing hierarchies of power - those who have information and those who don't.
     
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  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Need to know......The only thing that interests me about the Seaward Way Crossing is when it is next operational and trains can run across it. I imagine that the WSR will let everyone know when that happens.

    Mountains and molehills come to mind.
     
  12. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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    When they can't get the basic advertising right would they fare any better on any other platform? The sign on the fence at Minehead tells all that approach from the seafront that it is a museum, that there are craft shops in the mill at Washford, that Washford is the home of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust, that there is a Bakelite Museum at Williton ... I didn't read to the end. A stranger to the area waiting for their fish and chips would be encouraged to make a day of it with the family after reading that, at a fair cost, only to find they don't exist. Basic advertising is beyond them let alone anything more advanced
     
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  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Not really it is about institutional culture, engagement and transparency, all of which matter in the modern age. The little things are the indicators of the bigger things. It is the difference between being the premier league and struggling in division 3 while declaring yourself to be a sleeping giant living off past glories.

    Transparency and sharing of information is a useful way of looking to see if the oft talked about culture change is happening or if it was just talk with no intent to follow with action.

    One railway means engaging with all stakeholders, including those you don't like, those who challenge you and those you disagree with because you still need their money, support and labour.

    Not every one reveres hierarchy as much as you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    And I presume that they still advertise proudly the Hairy Dog on their building at Minehead - a hostelry 400 yards away in direct competition with whatever facilities that the WSR offers at the station. Hopefully the pub pays a substantial annual fee for being able to advertise itself so prominently.

    I just don't get it. Why on earth don't they get a decent hostelry at Watchet to pay for that advertising space and then combine it with an advert for the train to get there. 10% off if you show a train ticket etc etc. This is not rocket science but the marketing folk seem clueless.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Good one but I'd be inclined not to make assumptions about anything to do with me that you know nothing about...:D
     
  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I just go by what you post.
     
  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Agree with the attitude, although there are always matters which are best not discussed in a public platform no matter which railway, and I'm sure that almost anyone involved in producing blogs/newsletters etc. will have had to decline to comment on certain matters on occasion. The trouble with the WSR is because they decline to comment on so much, picking out where there is a genuine reason not to and where it's just poor attitude. I'm minded to think there's a bit of both going on here. Switching off the webcam seems entirely reasonable, and yes I know some construction companies have live feeds or whatever, but plenty do not and it is their prerogative. I can't say I'd be wild about the idea of a live feed watching me work either.

    Providing some regular updates on work for something like this requires someone who actually understands the technicalities otherwise it's a bit pointless in my view. You can't force someone to write an update in their own spare time if they don't want to. However you do also have to wonder if there's a fear that if they provide too much information, more awkward questions would have been asked related to the delay, which would be embarrassing for the WSR.
     
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  18. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I agree entirely. It is the process that I think is wonky. It is as you say, entirely reasonable to switch off the camera, but to then not explain in a short note 'somewhere' explaining why is what I can't quite get.

    As a counter point - there was a discussion in the GCR wagons thread about bogie exams, they explained why they didn't go into detail, everyone says fine, makes perfect sense and carries on.

    Most people will accept most actions as long as they are coherently explained. One of the biggest problems the WSR has is that it is very bad at coherently explaining what it is doing and why.
     
  19. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Thats an opinion, and of course you are entitled to it, however there are others who would like to follow the work as it progresses. That could lead to donations for the WSR signalling work, or perhaps for some additional PW work. Why not use every opportunity to show how your railway works, how the different departments work together and how projects like this are progressed. You could gain volunteers or donations, I really struggle to see why any railway would not want to communicate.
     
  20. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Now you are either very confused or being deliberately obtuse. I specifically said "It takes very little effort to post up regular reports on the progress of projects; they don't have to be as regular and detailed as the Broadway Extension blog was (marvelous though it was !), a simple short report will do. This helps to keep the organisation concerned in the news and thus attracts interest and support."
    So I was not comparing the Minehead level crossing project with the Broadway extension And it is entirely irrelevant who is doing or paying for the work. I also observed "In this particular case, it was stated that the railway could not run services into Minehead until the crossing upgrade was completed. It should be obvious that this is a matter of interest and concern to all those who care about the railway and that providing updates on progress can only be beneficial. So why not do it ?" So I gave my reasons for my views, which you have not answered with any rational objection but only with a weak attempt to divert the topic.
    As I said at the beginning of my post "This is true and only underlines how some in the hobby/business do not understand the effect of maintaining good publicity". I would have thought that was clear enough but you appear to disagree, but you do so without giving reason. If you don't think that publicity is important perhaps you would explain why.
     

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