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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    We know perfectly well that the WSR Plc can do things correctly; but we also know that the WSR Plc has a history over the last few years of often not doing things correctly.

    Apropos "apologist, lackey or similar", did you miss the immediately following wording in post #36697: "see how stupid name calling is"?
     
  2. Downline

    Downline New Member

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    If criticism is due, then its due. But criticizing something instantly just for the hell of it, because its the WSR, that's a bit pathetic. I hope you would agree with that.

    Other railways make the odd mistake here and there, possibly bigger mistakes than some of the WSR Plc ones. Yet the thread or other media social media outlet regarding that railway doesn't instantly light up with negativity in the same way this WSR thread does. That says something
     
  3. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    On 10 April last year, message 24635 on this thread, you wrote :
    "I think improved PR is required, and would make a lot of difference to the Plc.

    Every day there are businesses making decisions that their employees, customers, people looking from the outside will disagree with. But these businesses don't have forums with 24500 plus posts mostly of comments saying why they disagree with there actions, regular features on local tv and newspapers, and are not in public arguments with journalists, newspapers and MP's. And that's because they conduct themselves in a professional manner to the world outside of there business bubble and don't get themselves into wars with everyone that disagrees with them."

    This is exactly the point that @Monkey Magic, @Bayard and others are trying to make, and have been doing so for long before you joined this site, and yet you accuse them of having a mindset that the WSR can do no right ! What has persuaded you to change your mind ?
     
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  4. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    Oh, grow up! Just because I dared to comment on someone's critical post doesn't make me a sycophant/apologist. In no way have I defended the plc - I have simply suggested that the original criticism is unjustified and there may be a number of reasons why somethingwas done in that way.

    This unfortunately just reinforces my point that some people will find anything to have a go at the WSR, and then have a go at anyone who disagrees with them.
     
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  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    LOL, you give it out and are happy to call people names and to tell people what to do but you just can't take anything coming back your way. Stop being such a baby.

    It is a discussion forum, something happens, people comment about it, people respond, people respond to others responses. I'd have thought by now you'd have sussed out that that is how discussion forums work.

    It is hilarious that you can't see what a hypocrite you are.

    I will re-iterate my point again. It is mind numbingly stupid to see a discussion about a job advert as a binary for or against the PLC - and to see those who asking what is going on as being bashers and to descend into name calling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  6. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    As opposed to the people who will defend anything the WSR does, and then have a go at anyone who disagrees with them. (Thank you for writing my post for me.)

    There may well be a good reason that a Site Manager is being hired at such a late stage, but there's no way to find out what it is. What should have been a few mild posts suggesting possible viable explanations has instead turned into a giant posting-storm because some people just had to defend the WSR. With friends like those, the WSR is guaranteed a supply of energized enemies. I wonder if the WSR enemies are silently and internally thanking the 'defenders'?

    Noel
     
  7. Downline

    Downline New Member

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    I did write that, well done. And if you delve a bit closer into the past I no doubt make similar comments about the WSR lacking at communicating with the general public.

    There is still things I do not feel the WSR needs to be justifying to the general public. Take the crossing as an example, the WSR should be providing regular updates about the progress, such as "this week we installed this bit of equipment, we had issues with the rain slowing us down, etc etc". All things other railways, construction projects, and other organisations with a significant project share.

    But it is not necessary for the WSR to justify to a forum or the general public about the employment of individuals, creation of a job, or items you could consider 'general business'. I have never seen a job being advertised with a full justification about why the job is become available, why it is is being advertised at this stage and other things people on this forum feel they need to know. I don't think any other railway or organisation share information on employment with the general public.

    The WSR has changed a lot in the last year, some bits more obviously than others, some changes for the good, and some appear to have made no difference. And as things change I don't see why my opinions cant be amended to reflect those changes. But others unfortunately seem to be holding tight onto there views that may be valid 12 months ago, but are now potentially out of date.

    Hope that clarifies that?
     
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  8. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the explanation.
     
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  9. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I do but I think it is rather like an onion with the WSR. You peel back one layer and you get another layer. What I mean by this is that one issue feeds into another.

    I don't think it is invalid to ask what is going on with the camera, I don't think it is invalid to ask why the site manager has been advertised when the project is already underway (although we don't know how it is going because the camera is switched off). There is from this, criticism of how the PLC is managing the Seaward Way project.

    In my view, I think that this criticism would be reduced if the WSR had a better approach to engagement and PR with its various stakeholders. A simple - this is why is the camera switched off, why are we advertising (and a better job advert - even the job isn't exactly transparent). If the WSR PLC said 'this is what we are doing and why' then no one would have cause to speculate, people would be grateful for the engagement etc.

    This is what I mean about it being an onion. The criticism of the camera decision, the advert, the way the project is being run by the PLC is exacerbated by poor communication.

    (An addition another layer of onion) - one of the big issues with the WSR is a lack of trust between the stakeholders. People just don't trust the PLC. This lack of trust is fuelled by poor communication. In a place with low trust rumours easily develop as people do not trust other actors to be acting in good faith and into the information void step rumours. So good communication is also important in rebuilding trust (which in turn will stop people thinking the worst).

    Not all railways with poor communication are in trouble, but all railways in trouble have poor communication.

    I've no doubt people will still disagree, but I think decisions will be much more understandable if explained. It much harder to be critical if something is clearly explained.

    * I would just add that this is no guarantee of no criticism - look at the issue of lineside passes at the SVR. However, no one to my knowledge labelled those unhappy about the decision as SVR bashers. There was however, a pretty robust debate about it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  10. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    It does. Which takes me back to the bind that the WSR is in. This is a critical role on a critical project, on the critical path for reopening. It was came as a surprise to see the vacancy reported, and rang alarm bells because of the baggage that the WSR has. That is where I come from with my concern, because in my experience of projects (IT, in this case), one of the key factors that can delay a project is resourcing of key roles which, if not covered, mean that a project simply stalls. I am then the more puzzled that this is being managed directly by WSR rather than through a contracting firm.
     
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  11. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    But is it? As I previously observed, we don't really know what the Site Manager will be doing? The job title sounds important, but their actual role might not be very significant: the WSR's original posting says "part time .. position operated on a call down basis", which doesn't sound like 'directly managed' to me; more like liaison or something. Of course, at a high level, the project overall is apparently being directed by some combination of the PLC and SCC (entirely appropriate).

    Noel
     
  12. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    This ramble about a job advertisement really takes the biscuit.

    A countable number of people are like a dog with a bone over it. It's nothing to do with a locomotive, a coach or a train service but for some reason it seems to be important and a sign of something. Goodness knows what.

    Having recently been reading the richness of the discussion on another heritage railway site, I can see exactly why both those who post about the WSR and to some extent those who operate it deserve each other.
     
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  13. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Not criticising anyone here, just trying to work out what's happening and who's who, what's what and (for goodness sake) why?

    The major legislation here that sets out roles and responsibilities is the Construction, Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2015.

    As I understand it the person/organisation originating and paying for the works is not the WSR, it is the SCC which, for the purposes of CDM, makes them a 'Commercial client'.
    The regs. state:-
    "Commercial clients have a crucial influence over how projects are run, including the management of health and safety risks. Whatever the project size, the commercial client has contractual control, appoints designers and contractors, and determines the money, time and other resources for the project."
    In this case the either the WSR or the ORR or even Amey's could be considered to fill the CDM specified role as 'Designer'. Whoever that duty fell upon should have designed and specified the crossing. That design then passes to SCC who pass it on to the Contractor (Yes, I know, round and round, but that's the way construction law works).
    OK, it's a load of hassle for a silly little job like this but it's one set of rules that cover every job from £25 to £25 million and beyond.

    The point I'm making here is it's the Client that needs to ensure the works are carried out correctly, either by inspecting the Works themselves or by appointing someone to do so on their behalf, and the Client is SCC. The management of the works is done by the Contractor with the Client again having an overview for Health and Safety.

    I can understand the need to have an in-house site manager if you are going to do a lot of work with your own staff or manage contractors directly but for the crossing? How long will it take? Perhaps a day to dig out and lay concrete pads for the mechanisms complete with cable conduits, maybe two days to install the mechanics and controls and two more to connect up and commission... I'm sure SCC highways will have someone capable on their staff to oversee the civil works and that there are WSR S&T staff who could comment (to the SCC as they are the Client and who can then feed those comments back to the Contractor) on the operation and completeness of the S&T interface.

    So why all this bother?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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  14. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    That's a bit like saying the first world war was a fight about someone being shot in Kosovo. Yes, initially it was about a job advert, but the main complaint was, once again, about the poor PR skills displayed by the WSR Plc. What has spread this discussion over several pages is the insistence, on the part of two posters, mainly, that any criticism of the Plc is simply people having a go for the sake of it and other people trying to point out why the main complaint is justified.
     
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Hum...........

    I have been a critic of the PLC in the past.

    I think there is much to be critical about - going back a good many years.

    But rather than straining at a gnat I would rather look at the more clear cut issues that indicate things ae not well, for example that the infrastructure has been allowed to decay n- including the Seaward Way crossing, the treatment of the S&DRT, and the press release about the S&DRT at Washford.

    It is very easy to see a foul up at every action the WSR takes, but not all of them are clear cut, and it is very easy, given the justifiable concerns about the railway has been run to see mismanagement at every turn, however it isnt necessarily the case or even if it is it isnt obviously clear cut.

    So I choose my battles and this isnt, in my view, one I will join, although I have learned some things from reading the comments.
     
  16. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    "And that's because they conduct themselves in a professional manner to the world outside of there business bubble and don't get themselves into wars with everyone that disagrees with them."

    That may be part of the reason, but the main reason is that they are businesses that only depend on their customers for their income. Those customers are only interested in the product they are buying and whether it offers value for money. Sure if a company is large enough and bad enough, then there may be a general popular reaction against buying its products, but for the vast majority of businesses, the customer is king. However, there are a tiny majority of businesses whose business model consists of, wholly or partly, in persuading people to give them their time or money for nothing tangible in return. The WSR is one of those, so it's "customers" are everyone who takes an interest, everyone who donates or might donate. That is why they get "24500 plus posts mostly of comments saying why they disagree with there (sic) actions, ", because when people donate time or money, what they expect in return is information and a sense of connection. They give because they want to support the project and because they want it to do well, they feel the need to point out when they feel things are going wrong. Yes it would be marvellous if you could run a heritage steam railway like a bus company except that people would just give you money and not care about what is done with it, but unfortunately, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

    "But it is not necessary for the WSR to justify to a forum or the general public about the employment of individuals, creation of a job, or items you could consider 'general business'. "

    It may have skipped your notice, but after the first page, no-one was asking for that information. Pointing out that it might have been good PR to have given some reason for advertising for a member of staff at such a late stage is not the same as asking for that reason. Still, it helps feed the "every critic of the WSR is WSR-bashing" narrative, I suppose. Considering that you yourself have criticised the Plc's PR skils, I am surprised that you appear unable to hoist on board the ideas that 1) advertising a critical role in a critical job at such a late stage could be seen as incompetence, even by someone unconnected with the WSR, 2) that someone in the Plc should have seen that they ran the risk of looking, at best, disorganised and done something about it and 3) the importance of not doing things like this.
     
  17. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    It's to do with a perceived risk of further delay before trains can run to Minehead, on top of what seems to have been several years' delay already between when the need to renew the crossing was identified and finalisation of the detailed plans (if indeed they have been finalised by now).
     
  18. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Remind me again why the WSR can't run into Minehead at the moment?
     
  19. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Ye Gods ..... this has got even worse than the Brexit threads at their height. Methinks I'll leave you folks to it and pop back when the crossing in question opens.

    :Chillout:
     
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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Are you not enjoying the unfolding saga of Level Crossinggate?

    (That joke fell on stony ground last time in the middle of a more serious post - let's give it another try ;)

    Tom
     
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