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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    I do not wish to be difficult, but why do you care ? You are on record as only having visited the line
    twice: they were apparently unhappy experiences. You have also stated you have no intention of
    visiting again and even implied that you would not mind if the West Somerset Railway closed.
    I respect those views; although I wonder if a moderator should enunciate such opinions on the
    site that he/she moderates, particularly a site with the word ‘Preservation’ in its title ?

    I am delighted the West Somerset Railway continues to operate ( in fact viably operate), although
    all Heritage Railway at this time of the year, hope for a comparatively incident free ( no new Covid
    outbreak etc ) Season, In 2019 I feared for the survival of the WSR. I now look forward to the future !

    I don’t expect you to like the WSR but…….

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  2. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    A bit more atonement by the WSR is needed before it can be forgiven.
     
  3. Snifter

    Snifter Well-Known Member

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    Great to hear that the line is now on a sound financial footing and is "viable".
     
  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Just to clarify , I've said I won't visit the WSR whilst certain imbumbents remain in charge (yourself included) as to do so feels like supporting their decisions. Actions , well documented have taken place which have no place in the movement nor for the profound impact on individuals and organisations concerned and which should not be forgotten

    Given the perilous position the WSR was in and what was considered a rather massive funding gap , other lines would have made very positive PR from being able to secure such funding as to make the lines position so much more positive . I mean why wouldn't you . So how has the WSR made such a massive step forward in what was a £1m hole requiring the appeal ? Has the white knight ridden to the rescue , won the euromillions ? Culture recovery fund come good, actually our forecasting and accounting was pants and we got it wrong !

    please excuse my cyncism given the railways track record , a little bit of mea culpa and then some honesty goes a long way
     
    35B, MellishR and Fish Plate like this.
  5. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    It is interesting to see a proclamation that the railway has turned things around, which is perhaps premature.

    There’s been no update to the appeal for several months, has it quietly been dropped?

    Reading that from the PDG notes seems to suggest there is still no plan to ensure long term survival, it’s currently an unknown…
     
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  6. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    For the record, I have never been ‘in charge’. I have never been a Plc director or manager. For many
    years I was a TTI and I now spend one day a week in the information office. I have on occasion
    assisted in a small way at some events and occasionally wrt operational and motive power affairs.

    I was in 2016 for ten months a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Association. I considered my then role
    to be, in support of the Chair, one of endeavouring to bring some financial and organisational
    stability to the WSRA and pave the way for newly elected Trustees, following the difficulties occasioned by
    the former ‘Six’, at the next AGM. I prepared a business plan, copy given to all attendees at the 2016
    WSRA AGM?

    I know this is boring but you have misrepresented me for far too long ! I have always, in my limited
    way, had the greater interests of the West Somerset Railway at heart. BUT other than my ‘ten
    months’ at the WSRA never ‘in charge’. I have over the years been a regular questioner/critic at both
    WSRA and PLC AGMs, but have always attempted to align this with continuously, in my small
    way, promoting the WSR.

    I am sorry to go on but…….

    Regarding Snifter and ‘viable’. I was referring to day to day operations. Ultimately
    it all depends, year end, if total revenue exceeds total fixed and variable costs.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  7. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The last few pages make for interesting reading. I didn't go this year but I'm pleased the gala went well. It seems that those on the ground who make things work on the WSR did what they usually do and all was good.

    Heritage Railways depend a great deal on goodwill, money of course, but also a degree of openness and quality communication with its supporters on here and across the wider public. If @Maunsell907 needs to know what that looks like I suggest that a scan of the Spa Valley thread, for example, will underpin what I am talking about.

    Setups that choose not to do that can continue to exist and that's their choice. The WSR seems to be one of these but the apparently instant swing from potential disaster to viability leads you to wonder whether it was all about nothing in the first place or that there remains a problem that will re-surface at some point.

    Either scenario doesn't make for a stable situation and especially when there are many other locations that can capitalise on such a climate.
     
  8. gwilialan

    gwilialan Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the plan is to wait to see if the railway survives and then develop a survival plan?
     
  9. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Personally I would hope not, although based on previous form I suppose it could be a possibility.

    While I accept the different from usual circumstances of the last few years, I also note to date a long term plan has been absent throughout, asking for money or not.

    It is a theme that is continuing and does beg the question of if they don’t currently know what is needed to survive long term, how can anyone say it has turned the corner as it’s unknown what is needed to do so? Perhaps it wouldn’t be under such scrutiny if we hadn’t gone from needing several million over the next few years to “everything is rosy but they just got quietly on with it”.
     
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  10. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    It's certainly amazing to me - all that track that needed relaying at vast cost seems to have been done without anyone noticing and now there's nothing to worry about. Perhaps the WSR management could share the details of these miraculous track fairies with other railways in need of help?
     
  11. D7076

    D7076 Well-Known Member

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    Does that mean the great leader can finish his Hall and bolster the fleet ,funding permitting?
     
  12. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Member

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    I cannot I am afraid allow your musing to morph into National Preservation folklore.

    The potential disaster was only avoided by selling various assets including locomotive 4110, borrowing
    against some rolling stock and effectively transferring ownership of the owned locomotive fleet to the
    Bank, plus a scything of the Overheads. Despite all of this the Auditors still quialified the accounts wrt
    ‘going concern’. All of which has long been in the public domain. If that is not a potential disaster I
    would hate to be in one.

    Although it has been aired continuously on Nat Pres it might be worth repeating:

    The £800K loss was occasioned by a 15 month year i.e. it included two winter non productive periods.
    It also included a write back of £200k as a result of stopping work on the 4F, subject to depreciation.
    The turn round from Winter 2019 should be judged against a loss of £300K rather than £800k.

    However it is ultimately the generation and management of the cash which will/or not sustain the
    WSR.

    Please no more minimising the position the WSR Plc was in at the end of 2019.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
    malcolm imps likes this.
  13. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    Changing topic, any idea when information on the Diesel Gala will be available? Nothing on the website at the moment.
     
  14. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    D8568 is visiting before heading back to Chinnor. Both Cromptons and both Hymeks. D9526 staying at KESR for rest of the year so won't be there. Nothing else announced yet.
     
  15. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    OK, one year's loss was over 15 months, so not as bad as would appear superficially, and cash for short-term survival was raised by putting some assets in hock and selling some outright. That's all fair enough. But what has happened since? Does the WSR still need loads more cash (half a million pa?) for infrastucture renewal or not? If it does, is there any plan for raising that cash? If cash is now not needed after all, why not? What has changed?
     
  16. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, nothing too big will mean there's plenty of noise from the front ;)
     
  17. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Exactly what I was thinking.
    Just to be clear, no one is minimising the historical position. However, at the same time as avoiding an immediate failure in 2019, we were told throughout 2020/21 the railway needed millions (£5 million iirc) to invest in sorting out the maintenance (or historic lack of).

    Now in 2022 it seems we are being told that the railway has turned the corner without the slightest hint of what’s changed. This is why it’s being questioned as something doesn’t seem to add up. When you also factor in the absence of a long term plan which apparently is waiting an assessment of long term viability, it doesn’t leave much to go on and perhaps suggestions that there was an overestimation of the scale of the problem is inevitable.
     
  18. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    A 2nd visitor is being sought. <BJ>
     
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  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I fear for any number of reasons that's liable to be applicable to more lines than less.

    Even if the details are not yet entirely clear, there's definitely a sense abroad that we've crossed some sort of watershed during those interminable months of lockdowns.
     
  20. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Michael , noting your comment about not being in a position of authority in relation to the WSR you will excuse the confusion created when you speak with such authority and in a way that in essence feels like a board voice whilst patently ignoring the question which is clearly rather a difficult one to answer
     

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