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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    What/who will they put in the cages? Former volunteers (roll up, roll up, come and see this endangered species) ?
     
  2. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    blah blah blah

    The problem with continuously shouting that your different, is that others will then look into how your different, & whether those differences are worth copying, or do they cause issues.

    It seems evident that the 'WSR different' way of doing things isn't working.

    So, why not look for the commonalities between the 'WSR' & other non-profit heritage organisations?

    I can think of one example where the plc predates the charity, & the charity doesn't own all the shares in the plc. The previous membership body wasn't converted into the charity either.



    "The Plc holds all the cards as it is entitled to"
    No it doesn't!

    The plc is owned by its shareholders, not the other way round.
    If shareholders wish to merge, then it is nothing whatsoever to do with the plc.
    The plc must have no influence over the WSRA or the WSRHT, they are independent charities.




    In terms of the costs;

    https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/dos-donts-merging/finance/article/1520156
    "A report by Social Investment Business and Eastside Primetimers, Match Points, said mergers can cost between £130,000 and £350,000 to implement.
    But these costs can be mitigated. Lisa Harker, chief executive of The Art Room, which merged with the larger children’s mental health charity Place2Be earlier this year, says her charity completed the merger on a shoestring budget, relying mostly on pro-bono legal support."

    https://ep-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/The-Good-Merger-Guide.pdf
    "Charity mergers do not involve acquisition costs in the way private sector mergers do, but they can still be expensive, because of the professional costs involved. If a new organisation is being formed and there is very little internal capacity to undertake the work involved, little or no systems to build on and alterations to premises are required (as in Disability Rights UK’s case), total costs could be between £100k and £400k. Locality estimate their costs were £150k, which included legal, redundancy and branding costs as well as some allowance for staff time, but the full cost of the actual staff time spent was higher. In a more straightforward takeover situation, where for example, there are no redundancy costs, the time and costs involved could be far lower."

    https://www.socialfinance.org.uk/sites/default/files/charity_mergers_full.pdf
    Pages 19-20


    With no redundancies, major re-brandings, office moves etc, then the costs should be relatively low, certainly less than the £100k stated.

    (Let's say the current appeal had been done via one of the charities, & was more successful by raising £500k in 2 years. The Gift Aid on that could be £125k, so that's how the costs would be covered.)
     
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  3. 5914

    5914 Member

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    You are quite right. Any change in structure requires the plc to want to do it.

    As I said in my other post, it would be a position with more integrity for the plc to state that they wish to retain their independence (and power) rather than use potentially 'high-end' figures to make it seem impractical to change structure.

    As it happens, the railway referred to within my experience had, a few years previously, undertaken just the change that some have proposed for WSR (and you identify) - moving from an independent commercial trading company (with three associated, separate supporting charities) to one charity with operating company. Again, this had been undertaken at minimal cost through co-operation and professional generosity.

    I have to say that, having reached out and not had a response, I now find myself professionally in a different position to that when I offered support. However, I do feel the need to point out the facts of what is possible when people want to achieve something and work together. It will always be a puzzle to me why people can't work together to make WSR the better railway it could be and rather seem willing to risk even what is.

    Against what I would desire, it does seem as if lobbying is going to be fruitless, and that change will not take place unless forced. In the case of WSR this will have to be an external pressure - and most unpalatable. For the sake of WSR, I hope that the current directors strategy works (and therefore they manage to make the railway financially sustainable without substantial charitable funding) - as the failure of that strategy probably means the failure of the railway as it is.
     
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  4. Aberdare

    Aberdare Well-Known Member

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    Minehead loco yard 3000 gal water tower refurbishment.

    Following the repaint of the water tower over on the Bay platform side of the station earlier in the year it was decided to perform the same operation on the water tower in the loco yard at Minehead.

    The scaffolding to do this prevents use of both the main platform loop and access to the locomotive servicing pit in the yard. This year was the ideal opportunity as replacement of the level crossing equipment was going to prevent trains coming to Minehead for the season. The works required to the water tower included:-
    • A complete repaint.
    • Weld repairs to corrosion in some of the seams.
    • Replacement of the outlet valve assembly, the new machined castings had been in stock for some years.
    • Fitting of the parachute top, this was made some years ago and was in stock.
    • A good clean inside.
    • Touching up of the internal epoxy coating, after nearly 30 years in use there were a few rust stains.
    • Fitting of a bird scarer on the very top to stop the seagulls nesting.
    The parachute top was a kit of parts that needed shot blasting and 2 pack epoxy painting. This work was funded by The Friends of Minehead Station (FOMS) and we're grateful for their contribution.

    The outlet valve casting set were one of a pair made when the matching Bay side water tower was erected, this had it's valve missing when acquired from Newport (S Wales) many years ago. Both towers are of standard GWR pattern. If anyone needs an outlet valve we have the required patterns.

    The work has mostly been done by volunteers so it has not been the quickest of jobs.

    Whilst lifting the parachute top on today I took a few photos.

    Andy.

    The parachute top has it’s final fit.
    IMG_1887.JPG

    IMG_1889.JPG

    The loco side parachute water tower now looks as good as the Bay side water tower which was done earlier this year.
    IMG_1888.JPG

    Details of the valve. WATER TOWER DWGS  2 003.JPG And how it should look!
    WATER TOWER DWGS  2 023.JPG
     
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  5. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Whats the flow rate from the mains into a tank like that?

    Fascinating of course because in GWR days the main supply was at Williton which was free as it came from the river while Minehead was from the mains supply.
     
  6. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I think the supply at Williton came from a, now filled-in, well.
     
  7. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    You could find all the other ingredients of your "toxic brew" at most medium-sized organisations in the country, they come and go and occasionally flare up, but the divisive nature of the WSR's structure seems to have been with it from the very beginning, when it was set up as two organisations sharing a railway line and that is what makes the WSR different.
     
  8. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    If only the GW had the canny Henry Haydn Jones on their board, back when water mains were being installed (which was before his knighhood!)!

    Cost isn't the only important variable .... i'm unsure if it's still the case, but the RH&D certainly used to prefer the quality of water at New Romney to that at Hythe.
     
  9. Aberdare

    Aberdare Well-Known Member

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    Minehead water supply.

    When the Minehead seafront relief road and level crossing was built the water supply to the present loco yard was upgraded because locomotives would not be able to access the then water tower at the end of the platform. This water tower was an early WSR addition and later went to Welshpool station.

    The upgraded water supply was laid in using 4" cast iron pipework from the road and it branches off to various locations on the site. The supply to the water tower is 2" pipework and the feed valve is 1.5". The tower is 3000 gallons capacity and if I remember correctly it takes approximately 40 minutes for an empty to full cycle, 75 gallons a minute. It would be possible to arrange for a faster fill if the present supply water meter in the road was upgraded, presently 1.5" to keep the standing charge of the supply down. In GWR days the supply was via 3" pipework to the loco shed, filling time was probably around 15 minutes to the tank that existed then.

    The GWR had to pay for the town water at Minehead so taking water at Williton was the preferred option if possible.

    Williton water supply.

    The supply to Williton came from the Monksilver Stream where it flowed under the railway between the station and the road bridge. Beside the stream is a circular brick construction which is a filter bed sump taking water from the stream, looking like a large well. Originally water was pumped from the sump to the large water tower by a hot air engine (make unknown) and later electricity.

    There have been suggestions to rebuild the water tower and reinstate the water cranes however in the 1970's a bungalow was built adjacent to the closed railway right next to the boundary so overshadowing it would not be a neighbourly thing to do.

    A typical 7 carriage train hauled by a Manor or similar locomotive will use approximately 800 gallons of water between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard and a similar amount on the return. Water capacity is not a problem, for even tank locomotives, except on galas when visitors have been known to run short. There is a 1000 gallon emergency supply at the other end of the station for such occasions.

    Andy.
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    @Aberdare - and for completeness, Bishops Lydeard? ;)

    Where do you do washouts - at Minehead? Are you reliant on the 3,000 gallon capacity of the tank for a washout?

    Water and coal are always of interest to me, especially in the current environment.

    Tom
     
  11. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    Super drawing! Presumably the tank drawing is of roughly the same 1887 vintage as that of its valve? Would be interested to hear how far the colours in the tank drawing were intended to be accurate representations of No.4 Chocolate and No.2 Stone. As shown on the drawing those colours seem somewhat reminiscent of the BR (WR) brown and cream paint scheme, and I had been under the impression that No.2 Stone/Light Stone, as specified on the drawing, was much closer to the base colours of the Minehead structures. To my uneducated eye the main body colour in the drawing looks closer to GWR No.1 Cream than No.2 Stone.
     
  12. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    Don't forget!!

    There is a Volunteers recruitment event at Bishops Lydeard this Saturday the 30th from 10.00 to 14.00

    Come along and talk to various departments and see if you would like to have a go.
     
  13. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    CapEx on rainwater collection & filtering would be a good investment, with savings on water bills & 'green' bonus points.
     
  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I understand that following the Disciplinary Hearings against the WSSRT candidates there has been some further steps taken by them, has there been any news of that?
     
  15. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Excellent Rodney I hope it's successful
    Ian
     
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  16. Hirn

    Hirn Member

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    Given the direct cost of boiler work which is long-standing wether maintenance, repair or making new.

    The sensible thing is to arrange the best water you can reasonably manage to minimise it which may be by water treatment.
    There are readily indirect costs too: less power, higher coal consumption, priming, time out of service for more difficult washing out.

    What knowledge is there of how good the water supply from by the stream to the water tower at Williton was as boiler water?
    And are there practical differences noted between Minehead & Bishops Lydeard? (I have seen it stated that that a solution to a badly scaled boiler was to send the engine to Taunton - pun noticed and kept.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The VoR's 'greening' projects at Aberystwyth may provide some inspiration. The fact is that, for most of us and for most potential contractors, this represents a significant departure from historic practices, involving a steep learning curve. I doubt the panoply of relevant grants and tax breaks would be vaguely familiar to most of us and in this sense, right now, directors of any line's finances (and it's accountants) likely fall into that 'most of us' category.

    How then to ensure any such project not only 'does what it says on the tin', but accrues the greatest benefit for the line, not just economically speaking, but also in terms of public relations locally. Not just done well, but seen to be done well, any project would not merely improve the ongoing financial situation, but enhance the standing of the line, if not, it reflects badly

    Because Minehead matches Swanage, in terms of publicly very visible stations, IMO before any significant capital outlay is made, it would be beneficial for the line to take it's 'baby steps' elsewhere. My reasoning being that, due to the high profile of the station locally, the least amount of the inevitable discussions concerning each aspect of any overall project will be equally high profile, so it becomes crucial that any necessary public statements can be made with a degree of authority and confidence which, with the best will in the world, would currently be impossible.

    Possibly not the most obvious potential 'schedule of works', it occurs that the sort of investment proposed by @RichardBrum may best serve by reducing ongoing utility overheads, thereby improving "the books" for the less used stations as well as providing the opportunity develop the necessary expertise (for contractors, as much as for the railway) to hone the scope, specification, design, procurement and installation processes ahead of addressing the principal stations, which then, by definition, stand to produce the most significant and visible benefits coming with well thought through schemes.

    By the by, one term relevant to sewage charges is 'waste stabilisation ponds'. Most likely a complete non-starter at Minehead, not necessarily so at the more remotely sited stations.
     
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  18. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    A brilliant and detailed account by @Aberdare that for once actually has something to do with the operation of the railway as distinct from public 'handbag' squabbling by regular contributors.

    Keep up the good work even if many others seem to be making it a harder uphill task than it should be.
     
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    It seems the the staff and volunteers have taken the opportunity to do some useful maintenance while Minehead was out of bounds to trains.
    It looks like the staff and volunteers are confident with future of line - let's hope they are justified.
     
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  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    AFAIK West Somerset water is very 'boiler friendly' no treatment needed
     

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