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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    But, it was of the wrong railway company, ;) so had to go,
    I see once again my point about the moment any thing comes to light that shows the PLC In anything but flattering light, The attacks start Is a correct one.
    IMHO the S&D Trust are better off away from the WSR, they can build anew, If , the WSR PLC folds, there is no coming back, the line is finished, because they hold all the power, the light railway order, all the stock, and of the main two supporting charities one is in reality controlled by the plc, so won't fight it, the other has shown a readiness to want change, but are powerless to achieve it, as they have no influence to change who sits on the PLC board , despite owning a large block of shares in the company .
     
  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    IIRC there has been a suggestion on here from time to time (not all that long ago - just a few hundred pages!) that, if /when the PW moves out of DR and goes to WD (or wherever), then one 'benefit' would be that DR could be 'tidied up' and then turned into a form of 'working museum' goods yards. IMH quite a nice idea. What I am NOT clear about - and maybe ikcdab can comment please? - is the whether that was/is actually a serious proposal from the Plc Board, or just a supposed justification for evicting the S&DRT, or maybe merely an idea from the volunteers at DR as a way of improving 'their' station.

    But - who says that a station needs to be 'exciting' anyway? Does anyone complain that (say) DD is 'boring' for example? Many stations surely are just a place that forms part of the means for going from A to B, rather than being a destination attraction in their own right?

    If you do augment the facilities at DR to provide 'added value' and 'exciting attractions', what about the impact on the level of volunteer support that will be required? I can recall in the more distant past that one of the 'complaints' levelled against the S&RDT was that the station and Museum at WD were rarely opened to the public, even tho' there might have been volunteers at work in the workshops. Even BARM, good though it is, is still only open mostly on Sundays AFAIK (I stand to be corrected on that).
     
  3. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Actually, I think it is important to have additional attractions providing added value.

    Firstly, you have to remember the competitors are not just other railways, you are competing for custom from the tourist market. You need to look what other attractions are offering and at what price. I strongly believe that these days you need to offer more than just a train ride.

    Many railways have raised their game in this respect, the SVR with the Engine House being one good example. However, this doesn’t mean that everything you offer is on that scale or cost. The MHR installed a playground at Ropley. Is it authentic? No! Does it appeal to the main target market i.e families? Yes! Appealing to them means more bums on seats.

    The tourist market is a tough one these days and your product has to be appealing, if it isn’t then these potential customers will go to the local theme park, zoo or other attraction they feel offers them better value for money. If I was tasked with turning the railways visitor numbers around, this would be one of the first things I’d be looking at as a priority - adding value to the product as currently I feel the WSR scores poorly in that respect, once at the railway apart from the train ride there isn’t much to encourage these families to stay and spend money in the cafes & shops.
     
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  4. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Also note that as of 17.43 there has been no weekly appeal update as promised.
     
  5. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    The answer is very simple. The power at the WSR PLC is controlled by a badly led management team using all the skills espoused by the likes of a former American president.

    The WSR is a twenty miles long railway with a great potential. However, it is inadequately managed by a group of people who are probably incapable of running a bus service in a seaside town - let alone any transport concern of the scope and magnitude that is required by a major heritage railway.

    The PLC senior management may make as many appeals as they like but the line will never see a penny of my hard earned cash until the present management depart lock, stock and barrel.

    Recent on line conversations with colleagues suggests that they too have likewise thoughts.

    Jamie.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  6. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Maybe someone will post an update this evening. Perhaps they are still working from home.

    Or maybe they are talking about a WSR 'week' as so much seems to be completely different in Summerset ;)
     
  7. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    Give them a chance. They are probably still adding up the massive amount which has been donated.
     
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  8. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    Do you reckon the total is so high they've taken their socks off so they can count on their toes as well as their fingers?
     
  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I would not disagree with the general principles of what you say. But, if you take DR as a specific example, I would suggest (in the absence of actual firm evidence from on-the-spot observations) that the majority of passengers who get off there do so in order to go to the beach and/or the village and castle etc. It would have to be some very strong attraction IMHO to make them stay at the station itself for any length of time, especially if it means that they have to miss one train and get a later one home. At best it might make them decide to 'come back another day to see XYZ', but whether they actually do is another matter....
     
  10. Lenny

    Lenny New Member

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    Correct. Passengers to DR were either going to the castle and village or beach, with a few wishing to walk onwards to minehead or BA.
    Station staff were never worried about the goods yard in my time apart from the fact it looked like a waste site. Many complaints on gala days about photos being ruined by a prominently placed weed killing wagon!
     
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  11. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    So many points to agree with in this post, but to pick up with your points in this last paragraph Pete, look at say the East Lancs, The Trackside at Bury’s proved to be a nice little earner, so what’s happened at Rawtenstall?

    A little bit of forward thinking has done something positive in the North (and created a new revenue stream in the process)
    A little bit of the same could do something similar in the south west, but I don’t see it happening unfortunately.
     
  12. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    As always, there's never a straightforward answer or a "one size fits all" solution It would be pointless to have a similar museum at every station. With there being an intention to "set dress" and decorate stations to represent different eras perhaps an "engine house (a la SVR) could be the target for one and an expanded broad gauge museum with some replica rolling stock - maybe even a non-working B&ER 4-2-4T! - at another. Perhaps a del could be done with someone local to offer horse-drawn cart rides (exclusive to railway passengers) to and from a late Victorian station, maybe steam bus or vintage charabanc rides from an Edwardian one. Obviously it couldn't all be done at once and ideally would involve minimal expenditure but at least there could be a plan that could be advertised year on year to bring people back.
     
  13. Lenny

    Lenny New Member

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    Actually if one looks carefully there are many things at DR Station that has interested visitors.
     
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  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    So is that documented anywhere? Is there a single documented plan, agreed and signed off by all stakeholders, to set out the stations in that fashion? Because otherwise you've got to get agreement from ten independent station groups, an operating company and two separate charities to make that plan a reality - thirteen organisations in all, none of which is beholden to any of the others. Good luck.

    Now, if only there was a single-overarching membership body that set the overall strategic direction for the whole railway ...

    Tom
     
  15. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I think most of us on here are quite capable of ignoring such outbursts and not replying to things that aren't worthy of a reply.
    I was taught at primary school, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me". Whilst that may not be strictly accurate, and whilst I agree that name-calling achieves nothing except to bring this forum into disrepute, I do not think that anyone who is going to have mental health issues because a stranger on an internet forum calls them a clown is really suited to running a heritage railway, especially not if their management style tends towards the abrasive.
     
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  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Rummaging down the back of the sofa. Do buttons count?
     
  17. Wriggley

    Wriggley Member

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    Under previous regimes there were business plans and even some consultations. They are still there in cyberspace if you Google 'WSR Business Plan', though it seems that nothing much has happened by way of business planning or stakeholder consultation since early 2018, which is notably a long time before Covid became an excuse.

    Issue date February 2018: "Corporate plan 2018 - 2023 - Consultation draft version": http://www.wsr.org.uk/corporate-plan-2018-2023-consultation.pdf

    Issue date February 2017: "The 2017 - 2019 Business Plan": https://bit.ly/3BjLAS6

    Issue date June 2014: "Corporate plan 2014 - 2023": http://www.wsr.org.uk/plc_corp_plan_2014_2013_v6.pdf
    *It is perhaps noteworthy in the foreword to this one, that it states, "To this extent we have produced the first Corporate Plan by the Company for a period of 10 years" which is basically an admission that between 2004 and 2014, there hadn't been a plan......

    There may be others floating around out there, like space junk.
     
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  18. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    The June newsletter wrote of a new 3-year PLC business plan to 2023/24.

    (That suggests it should start in 2020/21, but a draft is not to go before the PLC Board until autumn 2021).

    Patrick
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  19. Keith_Gold

    Keith_Gold Guest

    Not forgetting the loss of 44422 and 6695, Who's gonna be told next we want you off the railway?
     
  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Surely it would be more consistent with the principles established in Orwell’s ‘1984’ to expect to see new business plans for 2018-2021 published shortly?
     
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