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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Whilst good news the WSR has made savings , review of spend is good business practice and particularly where agreements can be consolidated and better pricing obtained along of course with reducing consumption , you are tempted to say that , that really should have been in process 15 months ago

    I'm maybe a little uneasy about adding this to the pot as it isn't "new" cash and any saving claim relies on a good calculation and also the underlying assumptions to that calculation being borne out in reality . It is a repeated discussion I've had around six sigma projects at work

    It paints a rosier picture than actually may be the case
     
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  2. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    That’s the bit I didn’t understand, if the saving is included in the total then that means the appeal has only raised less than £3000 since the last update.

    Even if it isn’t included, the new total of £29,420 still falls short of the required monthly target, but, is an improvement on the time taken to raise it compared to the previous appeal total.
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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  4. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    Pleased to see the WSR placing banner ads in the online Bristol Post. I've long felt the WSR have failed to capitalise on their relative proximity to Britain's sixth biggest city.
     
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  5. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    I notice that it was "an emergency 'SOS' funding appeal for £1 million to see it through to next May" and "it needs to raise £1 million to survive". It's now described as "an immediate need to raise £500,000 of the target total this year to just keep going, and then, if successful, another £500,000 for infrastructure... [to] allow the WSR to make some big inroads into getting the infrastructure back to being a higher axle loading 'Red Route'." It also says "Otherwise, the WSR will have to look at other commercial methods to raise money, such as loans, overdraft and other measures that might be available" - so not the existential crisis of the original message?

    Gulp! You're right: "Today's figures helpfully include an uplift of another £12,800 in monies which will count towards the appeal in savings from our utility bills". I felt that the WSR's Covid appeals totals were rather elastic in what was included in the totals.

    Patrick
     
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  6. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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    I thought everything was already hocked to the bank, not looked lately on Companies House, so who would be likely to agree to an unsecured loan after their bleating all over various media about going under if people don't donate now?
     
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  7. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    It’s interesting as ignoring the utility bill saving, it means a weekly average of £3250 per week. To get to even the £500k in a year, it’s needs to generate £9615 every week (and of course the million is double that), about a third of what is needed basically.

    I did chuckle at the fact we now have some loose details of what they want the money for, any normal appeal would have these details at launch, not five weeks later. I’m not sure why the detail has changed as they definitely said we need a million to survive and then a million a year to fund the infrastructure repairs. The fact that they can magically knock 50% of the total doesn’t fill me with confidence, if that is the case why was the original estimation so far out? If it was the plan to spend the money this way all along why on earth couldn’t the railway just say that? It’s almost as if they are making it up as they go along which again doesn’t suggest strong leadership from the board to me.
     
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  8. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    there are companies that will lend money unsecured . The downside is the interest rate will be punishing and in the worst case interest rolls into the borrowed balance
     
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  9. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I am wondering when the PLC is proudly going to announce that they have looked down the back of the sofa and found 25p in loose change, some used tissues and a buy one get one free voucher from a local burger van, which has more than doubled the week's totals.
     
  10. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    It’s a shame Wonga went bust :D

    In all seriousness, while there are companies that will lend to adverse risks, surely considering the fact it’s unsecured would mean they require a viable business plan? I’m not sure such a thing actually exists and coupled with the current financial position, it’s hard to see a sub prime credit company taking it on as too risky.
     
  11. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Do we have any reassurance that the WSR Plc won't come along demanding a cut of whatever is raised?(or kick them off the railway if they refuse?)
     
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  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Smoke and mirrors?
     
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  13. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Glad to see its been done but again the sort of job that should have been done years ago.
     
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  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Noted, thanks, but.....it was not there when I looked first, honest guv...:)
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the bit that leapt out at me (apart from the sleight-of-hand in adding a cost saving to an appeal total) was the following:

    "The second £500k from the 'SOS' Appeal is money that would allow the railway to then develop the railway's infrastructure over the winter as an investment for the future because the current budgets simply have no capital expenditure allowed for with cash being so tight at present."
    Now, perhaps naively I'd reckoned that the railway was broadly keeping abreast of renewals, but needed a £500k investment to eat into backlog of accrued renewal projects. But the quote above says "no capital expenditure allowed for" in the current budget. Surely that means the infrastructure backlog getting bigger, not smaller. I read it now that the additional £500k is just to stand still, rather than get through the backlog.

    A balanced budget with no infrastructure renewal is not viable (even if it keeps you going another year in cashflow terms).

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
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  16. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    Back of a spreadsheet at this early stage, you'd expect numbers to change a lot as numbers develop and grants made:

    £500,000 target
    -£12,800 utility bills over 52 weeks [edit: 30 week saving is actually -£7,385]
    £487,200 needed
    Over 30 weeks 7 June to 31 December
    £16,240 per week required

    £29,420 appeal total
    -£12,800 utility bills over 52 weeks
    £16,620 cash raised
    Over 5 weeks 7 June to 12 July
    £3,324 per week raised

    Raised ~20% of pro rata sum needed per week

    £99,720 projected total pro rata to 31/12
    £387,480 to be raised by grants or other commercial means

    Excludes infrastructure

    Patrick
     
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  17. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Why spend any extra money upgrading the line to get red route status? It's almost as though someone has a heavy loco that could make them some money if only it could run on the WSR...

    And just in case 'someone' who would like red route status thinks that all that is required is simply doing up the track - Wrong! Don't forget to add in the extra millions for bridge and embankment surveys, additional drainage in wet areas (to stop the track sinking further, of course), and any necessary remedial or strengthening works that were conveniently 'overlooked' during the last supposed 'upgrade'...
    Then, of course, there is the rest of the buildings and infrastructure which have only been built to blue route standards...

    I just wonder if anyone really cares about that?
     
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  18. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    AIUI the bank have a General charge (a lien) over some or all of the company's assets. They may not have lent up to the full security value of those assets and could therefore, potentially, be able to increase the overdraft limit. However, given the dire warnings accompanying the appeal, the bank may well choose not to do that even if they could.
     
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  19. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    Devil's advocate – would red route status better enable them to provide Minehead as a destination for mainline tours? Eg t0 get the big chuffers down to the seaside, providing a destination for passengers, and a convenient turntable and servicing space for the return? Not sure whether with the infrastructure in its current state they'd be able to accommodate a Tornado or a Duchess for example…?

    I know that this might be naive in the context of WSR management, but I do think it's best to attribute good intent, rather than self-interest, unless there's extremely strong evidence one way or the other.

    Simon
     
  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    AFAIK,

    1. The Minehead Turntable isnt big enough to accommodate anything larger than a Bullied Light Pacific, and
    2. In the layover time you get at Minehead there isnt really as much time to service the loco as you really want on a railtour so basically its much better to take the railtour loco off at BL, turn it on the triangle & have 5 or so hours to service it.
     
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