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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    If there is post promulgating nonsense it is this one! Ownership of an engine is not the issue. The list of SVR engines given is one of locomotives permanently based or closely affiliated to that line which rarely work anywhere else, and which, by and large, are maintained by SVR staff therefore cannot be classified as hired engines. 1450 and 813 may be exceptions to this but are not suited to use on day to day operations and hence spend significant periods of time elswhere to earn their keep . In some cases the engines are supported by their owning bodies to bump them up overhaul queues but I don't think this then results in their owners then receiving mileage payments - hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong.

    On the NYMR nowadays only the NELPG engines and the B1 (whose number, not ironically at all, is 61264!) are hired in as required. The hire of 44871 for a short spell this year was to cover a short-term gap in the Whitby fleet and was a precaution rather than a necessity, I think. In contrast, the locomotives being hired in by the WSR are typically ones of the mendicant variety, looking for work where they can find it. 5199 and Foxcote Manor were nominally based at the Llangollen Railway, I doubt if they are now. Perhaps they will become WSR-based. If they weren't there, though, would the WSR be able to maintain a service using just the two working engines now based there? For me the answer is that they would not, therefore they are reliant on hired-in engines, as I stated.
     
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  2. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    You are correct in what you say. However, most of the 'run and repair' agreements at the SVR were signed over fifty years ago. Much as anyone would like to, it is difficult to change history. All preserved steam locos are a financial liability, yet the majority of railways and private owners seem to manage somehow, even though some locomotives have to be stored awaiting overhaul for considerable periods of time.

    Andy
     
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  3. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that 5164 has gone through, I've seen no announcement since and it's not listed by the Fund as one of their locomotives https://www.erlestokemanorfund.co.uk/announcement-gwr-5164/. It was "subject to the existing SVR locomotive agreement being transferred to the Fund". I've no inside knowledge but I think the existing agreement for 5164 is 'run and repair' and that for the two manors isn't.

    To bring this back on thread the last (May '21) Fund website update had pictures of the replacement cylinder and cover to replace those damaged whilst at the WSR
    https://www.erlestokemanorfund.co.uk/may-2021-update/

    Patrick
     
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  4. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    You are in part wrong in that several of the SVR locos which Martin listed do already operate on a "hired, pay for as used" basis (not mileage which is fraught with problems but fixed daily agreed fees which are promptly paid). This looks set to become an increasing number with 4150, 82045 and others likely to join 7802/12, 5164, 34027, 1450, 813. It is increasingly obvious that the first call on expenditure of any heritage railway board will always be infrastructure. You cannot operate without the infrastructure being kept up together whereas you can operate without a particular loco or two. It is no coincidence that the long term residents of Highley Engine House are locos on "use & fix (sometime)" agreements or in two cases are SVR company owned.
     
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  5. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    5164 is in the process of being assimilated into EMF currently. The future agreement for 5164 will not be on a run & repair basis as has already been agreed.
     
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  6. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    The provision in the accounts for the overhaul of No 88 was drastically reduced by the current board at the beginning of their tenure, one suspects so that they could show a profit in the year having posted a loss the previous year and be seen to be "turning the company around".
     
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  7. Martin Fuller

    Martin Fuller New Member

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    Sorry I don't buy that at all. 7822 is paid a daily rate at the WSR and EMF manors are paid a daily rate at the SVR. Both have had a substantial amount of their maintenance done by Tyseley and by their own volunteers.

    I see no difference between the WSR depending on Foxcote and the SVR relying on Bradley for a season.

    Sorry, you're wrong about the NYMR also:
    61264 - Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust
    44806 - Peter best
    92134 - Heather and Howard Self
    Sir Nigel Gresley - Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd
    825, 830, 841 - Essex Locomotive Society Ltd
    62005, 63395, 65894, 69023 - NELPG
    901 - NRM
    Hartland - Shaw family
    Lucie - Piglet
    5, 29 - Lambton locomotives Trust

    I think you've picked the wrong word there! There hire of locomotives is a mutually beneficial business arrangement, however as I've said before, the going rate is not enough to overhaul these locomotives at commercial rate. All must have volunteer input and/or a secondary source of income to survive, and the majority of locomotives will be stopped indefinitely when a new firebox is required.
     
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  8. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    The restating was in the 'two winters' accounts of January 2018 to March 2019 and so *reduced* the loss to (£808k) and its net current liabilities to (£97k). (Without comment, the adjustment was described and audited as past period errors, and the overstating of 88's overhaul provisions).

    It was the following 19/20 year they declared a £232k profit, net of that year's (£110k) provision for 53808.

    Had the change made in 19/20 it would have made 18/19 worse and 19/20 better. Having said that 'going concern' was an issue in 18/19 and the Board might have been grateful to have found the error then.

    Patrick
     
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  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    We've been here before: the hire rate of locomotives is indeed generally insufficient to cover their overhaul costs. However, the strategic risk of a loco owner wishing to charge a railway the true hire cost would be the railway in exchange charging a track access fee to cover their operational and infrastructure maintenance costs! So it cuts both ways. In my experience, most members of loco owning groups accept that they will need to pay something over and above the money they make in hire fees, but see that contribution as a down payment on the opportunity they get to see their loco in operation, rather than tucked up cold and lifeless in a siding somewhere.

    Ultimately, the whole business model of heritage railways is pretty broken. Most major lines - the WSR is not unique in this - have at some point in the relatively recent past had one or more of a loco, carriage or infrastructure crisis. Having two or more together is a major warning sign, of course. From a board point of view, infrastructure is the one that will stop you dead in your tracks, and has to be the one that you prioritise spending on. Carriage provision is the one that I think will be this coming decade's "sleeper" crisis that blindsides everyone. (We are already seeing carriages moved between railways to make up temporary shortages). Locos at least are (relatively) easier to fundraise for than infrastructure and carriages. Management might choose to focus their appeals on loco provision as being relatively "sexy", but use it to re-arrange renewal budgets to prioritise infrastructure knowing that a shortfall in loco overhaul budget is more easily made up from an appeal.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  10. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Ah, I had thought the change was made in 19/20. However, since various knowledgeable people have since stated that even the original amount of provision for No 88's overhaul was insufficient, I am puzzled why the amount was written down at all.
     
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  11. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    I’d suggest there is a very major difference. Bradley Manor is has been based at the SVR for over 40 years, and is part of a large stable home based fleet.

    Foxcote Manor is just the latest in a long line of locos hired in by the WSR to get it through a season or two, because it’s home fleet is so inadequate.
     
  12. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    You are changing your argument, though. If we
    I'm not significantly wrong about the NYMR.

    61264 is hired
    92134 came on an "assemble it for free miles" agreement and I don't think anyone outside the management knows when it will switch to a mileage based agreement.
    80136 came on an "assemble it for free miles" agreement and I don't think anyone outside the management knows when it will switch to a mileage based agreement although I would imagine that it most probably has by now.
    44806 is under overhaul at present and no-one yet knows what its running agreement will be.
    Only 825 of the ELS locos is currently runnable and it does run on a hire agreement nowadays as do the three NELPG engines.
    69023, 901 and 60007 are no longer based on the NYMR so are irrelevant, 62005 virtually so.
    34101 is on a "overhaul and run" agreement as are the two Lambton tanks. That only leaves Lucie, which is really neither here nor there for the amount of use it gets but is probably on a daily steaming fee.
    The fleet owned by the NYMR consists of came on an "assemble it for free miles" agreement and I don't think anyone outside the management knows when it will switch to a mileage based agreement. and 3672 so there is about a 50/50 split between hired (but long term resident) locos at any one time (currently 29, 45428, 76079 vs 825, 65894, 63395, 80136, 92134. This seems to represent a sustainable mix agreeable to all parties and providing the NYMR with stability from year to year. Its that stability from long term agreements that is the difference from lines relying on short term hires The owning groups are local and find it easier to support their engines than do groups based elsewhere whose members have to travel long distances to provide support.
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    My thoughts on NYMR motive power are different to yours.
    34101 is on a run and overhaul contract, which is significantly different. It has been under overhaul for several years and what happens to it when it finally returns to steam is anyone's guess although I hope it stays on the Railway.
    61264 is now out of service. I don't know what the future plans are for it.
    The Railway currently owns* 3672, (30)926, (4)5428, 75029, 76079 & 80135 and has custodianship of Lambton No.5. However, 5, 3672 & 80135 have been out of service for more years than I like to think about. It has also seen fit to sell 2253 & 44806 to Peter Best in recent times so, to me, the Railway seemingly prefers to pay steaming fees rather than rely on their own locos.
    In 2019 the Railway had the benefit of a large fleet of operational locos. The same has not been the case in 2020/21 and there was a need to hire in 44871 at the start of the season. I'm sure that it would have still been on hire if it had been available.

    *3672 & 30926 are technically owned by a Trust and not the NYMR.
     
  14. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    A more concrete and quantifiable measure of how the WSR is regarded throughout the heritage world, a measure which even the most un-knowing would find difficult to ignore or put aside, is the response to the appeal.

    Noel
     
  15. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    That comment suggests the misunderstanding, which has been addressed on here before, about what a provision in the accounts really is. No doubt the accountants will rush to tell me if I'm wrong but my understanding is that it doesn't mean that any money has been provided or set aside in a notional pot on the WSR mantelpiece. Rather it's recognition of a future liability based on current estimates of the cost involved. It's possible to revise that estimate down on the basis of reasonable evidence of mechanical condition.
    A provision isn't cash, hence the apparent inconsistency to non accountants of saying we have made a provision in the accounts ( i.e we recognise the liability) but we don't have the money to pay for it.
     
  16. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That, to be fair, is not quite what @Bayard is pointing to - the provision was reduced, boosting (paper) profitability but without addressing the underlying fundamental issue of the ability of WSR plc to meet that liability when it fell due - or even making it harder to meet that liability by virtue of the double whammy of a further cost provision at a later date, plus the need to find the cash in due course.
     
  17. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    I think the culture of secrecy that exists at some railways and the excuses for not being open and honest are what aggravates many railway supporters. ‘Commercial sensitivity’ is often the default excuse of weak Directors who do not want to explain themselves IMHO.

    Some matters are of course genuinely commercially sensitive and nobody is expecting a report on every nut and bolt but an explanations of where monies have been spent is just good business sense and a sign of good governance. It inspires people and organisations to donate, invest or lend funds, people can be confident that their hard earned money is being spent wisely. Why wouldn’t somebody want to share details of an appeal, or show off the piece of kit or rolling stock or materials that have been bought?

    Unfortunately some Directors of some railways (the railways that crop up time and time again) believe that they have an absolute right to manage without interference, or worse still they really, really do not want people asking ‘awkward questions’. As we all know, mediocre Directors and Trustees are difficult to remove. Diffuse shareholding and voting arrangements make it tricky to galvanise enough members to challenge the incumbents.
     
  18. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Can I refer you to post 39559. You could call it "the Mayor of ToyTown syndrome".
     
  19. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Not just railways. It is largely forgotten that the directors and senior management of a limited company are employed by the owners of the company, the shareholders, to manage the company for them and make money for them. However, what so often happens is that the directors and senior managers run the company as if they were the owners, in a way that suits them, makes them money and/or gives them power and prestige. Charities too, there are plenty of charities where the senior management receive eye-wateringly large salaries to the detriment of the people the charity is supposed to be helping.
     
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  20. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I am well aware from my own business career that a provision in the accounts isn't money in the bank. Nor, sadly, does a profit at the end of the year necessarily translate to money in the bank, either.
     

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