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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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    Morning John

    the full letter runs to five pages and out of respect to those impacted at this point I won't share it fully . the blue highlighting was a quirk of my mouse in pdf and nothing should be inferred into it . To share or not to share any of it is clearly the $10000 question and has vexed me for sometime . recent discussions and its existence being noted on here was the catalyst to try and share enough to inform debate but will certainly never satisfy everyone

    To @Bayard 's point

    way way back I highlighted the ongoing WSR debacle is about power , influence and control . The current situation distils down in my mind to two individuals , one does not want the other full stop, a thorn that needs to be removed

    The imp can construct a plausable scenario where post the WSRRT Agm , one seeing their power under renewed threat wants to take action. They can't take direct action as the others actions were not directly impacting on the PLC. I suspect (maybe with some bought wisdom) and with the acting chair of the WSRRT also being a WSR plc director and supportive to construct said letter to move the responsibility for action from the WSRRT to the Plc

    Three individuals were collateral in the grand plan , although action taken almost certainly served a useful purpose in reminding anyone else thinking of standing against the plc that penalty would follow . It is also useful to note they were handled individually and before person #4 rather than collectively .

    the outcome for #4 was pretty much predetermined, and the process a sham to tick enough boxes to try and give it respectability

    The downside of shams is that they tend to be seen for what they are and have far reaching consequences . The ripples are now outside the WSR inner circle . I await with interest to see what follows
     
  2. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    There are a few points regarding the loco situation that I'm surprised haven't been made. The WSR is currently unique among the major lines in being reliant on hired in engines. The examples quoted by JBT Evans are smaller lines with the exception of the NYMR, where a temporary problem with a shortage of Whitby-capable engines resulted in 44871 being hired until 76079 returned to service. It has now moved on - so these were really irrelevant examples for trying to prover his point. For a line in dire financial straights, though, there might well be a financial advantage to hired engines, if the owners do the majority of their own maintenance. It might allow the host railway to shed all but a skeleton MPD staff and cut their costs that way but means accepting that the loco group may not have the resources to deal with problems as fast as a paid staff. I have heard no evidence that the MPD staff at Minehead has shrunk this year as a result of having only two locomotives of their own to maintain.

    It is of course ironic that there was one loco at the WSR that was there on a "run now, pay later" basis that seemed perfect for the line but has been driven away by the PLC's own machinations - 53808.. It will take a great deal to convince me that this board is anything remotely like competent.
     
  3. Western Venturer

    Western Venturer Member

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    Had a great day chasing 45596 Bahamas on the West Somerset Steam Express and just wanted to thank the West Somerset Railway and all the people involved in making it a great day.
    The four locos were turned out wonderfully as were the coaches the staff at stogumber were excellent we had lunch there and I can highly reccomend the pasties and the cream teas.
    Operationally it went well from my observations, so well done to everyone involved during the day.
     
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The other point to note is that the WSSRT has mechanisms within its rules to act against members. It could have simply removed the membership of those involved, however, Steve Williams chose (and I assume with the support and approval of the other WSSRT trustees) to elevate it to the PLC to the level of removal from the railway.

    And again, this point needs to be made - this was done after the railway had failed to run for the summer losing out on critical revenue, with Seaward Way out of action and preventing running into Minehead and maintenance arrears that would prevent running following the lifting of restrictions (further reducing funding), while still evicting the S&DRT - losing their most useful engine, and launching a failed bid for further funding (can someone remind me who the lead figure on that failed bid was?). @Lineisclear a few days back suggested that the PLC management is not incompetent, I would suggest that this mismanagement of priorities demonstrates that they are clearly incompetent and driven by ego, personal vanity and wounded pride more than by any genuine desire for the good of the railway. They would rather settle scores - at any financial, reputational or wider cost to the WSR, and advance pet projects, than they would ensure that the foundations upon which the railway is based are solid.

    If you are managing a railway in a crisis like covid then everything needs to be geared to withstanding the financial storm, not hard man posing, pet projects and acts of crass stupidity. That WSR SM (and I include the WSSRT in this) have prioritised the latter over the former shows that they are incompetent and not fit to run a railway.

    A point of comparison - in 1989 after the fall of Communism all the states of the region were faced with an economic crisis as well and moving on from Communism. Most states faced a choice between punishing former Communists or rebuilding the economy. Most states decided to favour economic rebuilding and acknowledged that those with the technical competence and skills to rebuild the economy were those associated with Communism. In otherwords, the economy was more important for the good of the nation than retribution. It is notable that the exception was Romania where they had a show trial and summary execution live on TV, but which for the next 25 years was an economic and democratic laggard. The states that focussed on dealing with the economic crisis got back on their feet economically and politically faster than those that focussed on retribution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  5. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    Thank you for that explanation, Martin.

    For further details of the complaints raised in Steve Williams' letter we are then left with the specification of charges paraphrased in post #39427, namely that public statements bringing the plc into disrepute had been made. @Lineisclear tells us that these statements “would not have been actionable” if made by shareholder support charities, nonetheless they warranted a disciplinary investigation into the conduct of the individuals who are alleged to have made them. The propriety of such a distinction was neatly skewered by @Jamessquared in post #39429.

    Though I would have liked to see the full text of the Williams letter I think I can see well enough what is going on here.
     
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  6. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    5199 has had a repaint work done at Williton which many are over looking.
     
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  7. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

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    Was this an earlier repaint, as the most recent one was done at Minehead.
     
  8. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

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    Every few months? It feels much more like every week, and for some posters here, every day!
     
  9. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Is that so ? I don't recall seeing anything to suggest that and it would be surprising in the circumstances. Do you have a source for your information ?
     
  10. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Minehead was it, apologies in that case. Anyway I refer the most recent one which brought 5199 to the line.
     
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  11. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I think the loan agreement brought it to the line, the repaint was a separate contract job.
     
  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    The repaint and other work it certainly put money in WSR's coffers however, Pete, as well as providing a loco.
     
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  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I was wondering why the whole scenario seemed familiar and then I remembered: this a WSR version of a passion play. The Sanhedrin wanted to execute Jesus and get rid of someone who they viewed as a troublemaker and who was stirring up the people against them by pointing out their shortcomings. However, they didn't have the power to do that, so they handed him over to the Romans on a trumped up charge as they alone had the power to condemn him to death.
     
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  14. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Yes, agreed the WSR does a quality job too on this kind of work, it’s definitely a strong point and beneficial from a financial point.
     
  15. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Only if it brings in external work. A lot of the carriage repainting that has gone on has been funded by the WSRA and as they are already WSR "family" its not really new money.
     
  16. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I was thinking more of the work they did for the PBR & DFR which was contract work.
     
  17. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    I may have missed much, but as I recall

    The agreement between the PLC and S&D Trust remains live
    The Plc will have financial obligations to restore 88 by 2030, less the fees it's currently earning
    There's no agreement then for it to remain on the WSR
    The WSRA has indicated it would support a fundraising effort if there was an agreement for it to stay thereafter
    The S&D Trust had been asked to and agreed to fund the tender tank
    The PLC publicly indicated it wouldn't have the means to overhaul it as per the agreement (notwithstanding its saleable assets - my emphasis)
    The PLC and S&D Trust are in negotiations over the eviction and 88
    Unless agreed otherwise, or the PLC breaches the agreement beforehand, 53808 would be set to return if only for the S&D Trust not to breach its part of the agreement and to put the ball back in the PLC's court to overhaul it

    Happy to be corrected

    Patrick
     
  18. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    It was good to read this posted on the UKRail website re the excursion
    "..........On time arrival and double headed switched locomotives from Bishops Lydeard to Watchet. Icing on the cake was the return, top & tailed with Odney Manor and Foxcote Manor, vibrant exhaust up to Crowcombe. West Somerset line Railway stock & stations looked respondent and well worth a visit......."
    Well done to those on the ground and behind the scenes, who are keeping the WSR operating.
     
  19. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Yep. I'd agree with all that. You can easily understand why people near or at the top would feel proud to see the railway showcased as it was yesterday by those who were providing the show. It's just as easy to understand why those people working yesterday would be more than just sad and frustrated that so much else is causing grief and friction.

    There's a bit of me that wonders why on earth such people don't make more fuss. I heard someone say in conversation on the platform "I'm just a volunteer" as if they were not important.
     
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  20. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    That looks to me like a pretty comprehensive summary of 53808's position, although uncertainty remains about the timing and scope of the overhaul obligations. @jma1009 recalled that the relevant locomotive agreement might contain stipulations for multiple overhauls, thus apparently making it a 'run-overhaul-run-overhaul' arrangement.

    According to the Winter 2019 edition of the S&DRT journal Pines Express:

    "In addition the WSR plc has stated it cannot guarantee having the necessary funds for 53808’s overhaul, due in 2025."

    I took note from this that:
    1. an overhaul was apparently due some five years before the agreement's expiry date,
    2. the plc had already indicated to the Trust in 2019 that there was a problem with its ability to fund the overhaul. This indication must have been given at least 1.5 months before the plc gave the Trust notice to quit Washford. Could there be some connection between the funding problem and the eviction?
     
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