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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Nigel Clark

    Nigel Clark Member Loco Owner

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    Nick, the WSR plc has taken the decision (quite rightly) that it needs to make better use of it's facilities. There are long standing plans for Williton to become the heavy engineering centre for the railway, but to do this it must try to pay for itself and more 'paying'/contract jobs are the priority. Unfortunately volunteer led projects need to make way for this to happen. I note there have been some comments regarding 7027 moving in; this hasn't happened so far (in fact 6695 hasn't yet moved out but will do so in around a fortnight) but, to set the record straight, 7027 will be a paying contract job so provides income and work for the paid staff. You will also see shortly, I believe, that 9351 will move from Minehead to Williton for (hopefully) rapid completion of the overhaul; MD will concentrate on winter maintenance of the running fleet.

    I think 'turfed-out' and 'evicted' are rather strong terms; obviously we (6695 LG) are not exactly happy with the change in situation but we have to recognise that WSR is experiencing a particularly difficult time currently and has to make some tough decisions. We'll have to see how things pan out; there may well be some further announcements over the coming weeks. There are, and will be, various rumours floating around but please wait and take note of the official press releases from the plc.
     
  2. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    Is the 25 year hire agreement still in place?
     
  3. lochness8

    lochness8 New Member

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    So let me get this right.

    6695, which is to be a WSR locomotive last thing I heard, well suited in terms of power to a branch line, and is worked on by several WSR volunteers, is lower down the pecking order than 7027, which is a privately-owned locomotive (owned by the PLC Chairman - just a reminder, I may have mentioned this before) wanting contract work doing to it - which IIUC implies no volunteer input.

    The volunteer wagon group have also lost access to the Swindon shed to finish off their brake van over the winter as well, so I gather. Such a shame after the progress made last year.

    I’m certain when the WSRA erected the Swindon shed back along it was to provide a covered area for encouraging greater use of volunteers on WSR rolling stock but the opposite now seems to be happening, aided and abetted by both PLC and WSRA management.

    Doesn’t all this ‘contract’ work actually just represent the thwarting of volunteer projects beneficial to the WSR? What you might call an ‘opportunity cost’. Who does it actually benefit, other than the private owners? Does it benefit the WSR?

    The only exception in this situation seems to be 9351, but will that be a contract or a volunteer job I wonder.

    While we’re on locomotives, anyone heard any more about 4110, 44422 or for that matter 4561 recently?
     
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  4. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Presumably there's a benefit in terms of incoming cash?
     
  5. lochness8

    lochness8 New Member

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    Yeah but where does that cash go?
     
  6. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    Probably to continue employment of staff who’s jobs may be on the line due to the financial problems.
     
  7. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Paying the hire fees for all the locos it has to bring in to keep the service running each season.

    Meanwhile the WSRs own locos continue to be neglected or sold off.
     
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  8. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Well-Known Member

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    Is the one that was damaged on route from swanage on road still there?
     
  9. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Yes that’s 6695 referred to above. Was meant to be on a 25 year loan agreement, but we’ll have to wait and see if that still applies.
     
  10. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Finishing 9351, in which the Plc has already invested heavily with a completed boiler overhaul, is a high priority (as was 7828) to reduce reliance on and the cost of externally hired motive power.

    Rather than producing incoming cash it makes best use of cash already spent as well as reducing outgoing cash through the season.

    With the Minehead staff fully engaged in ensuring the full pre season fitness of 6960, 53808 & 7828 tackling 9351 at WLTN makes perfect sense.

    Those who follow progress on 6695 will know that the boiler is off site receiving attention whilst the owning group continue to raise the funds necessary to complete the overhaul.
     
  11. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Not sure about the other two, but it was recently announced that the loco department members now have enough pledges of cash to buy 4110 from the plc and stop it being sold off the WSR.

    There are no plans to restore it at present, this was just a case of ensuring it stays on the WSR. Future options include restoring it themselves, selling to the WSRA, or selling back to the plc in future.
     
  12. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    That is not really true is it!
    The WSR Plc own 7828, 9351 and currently 4110. Its surely apparent that both 7828 & 9351 have had a large amount of recent attention and considerable expenditure.
    The 2-6-2t has a WSR future being purchased by a group centred on the working footplate volunteers of the railway.
    The WSRA own 4561 & 7821. Much work has been done on 4561 though currently forward progress is slow for funding reasons.
    7821 remains "tucked up" in the warm in the Swindon designer outlet centre where it is not deteriorating.
    The WSRA also had a stake in 4160 (currently off the railway under overhaul) and that has already been sufficiently aired on this thread.

    So what is being neglected and sold off??
     
  13. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    6695 being evicted from the shed at Williton and 4110 is most definitely being sold.

    True money is being spent on 9351 and 7828, but two locos is nowhere near enough for a line the size of the WSR.

    If the WSR is short of cash then I know difficult decisions have to be made to ensure the survival of the line. But longer term, is bringing two or three external locos in on hire each and every season sustainable?
     
  14. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    4110 - sold yes but not sold "off" the railway.
    6695 - many locos under overhaul up and down the country have to spend periods of time outside hopefully sheeted up. That does not mean they are negelected.
    A balance of owned & hired (long term) locos is probably the best attainable solution. Short term hire rates and frequent expensive low loader moves are the wasteful part.
     
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  15. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    A loco costs what it costs and actually a hired in one might be cheaper to run than one owned by the railway itself. A lot depends on the running agreement and how much of the routine maintenance the owners provide. There are arguments both ways, if the railway has its own locos then it is committed to the workshops and staff to maintain and over haul them, for hired in engines these are provided by the owners.So there is probably a balance to be struck and the WSR has probably got it about right. The East Lancs, on the other hand, is probably too heavily reliant on hired-in engines (imho).
     
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  16. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    In which case, the problems will soon be back. Selling assets to fund revenue costs is a desperate measure and only a short term fix.
     
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  17. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Not in this case, as the WSR is said to be keen to get 9351 back in action to reduce reliance on expensive hired in locos.
     
  18. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    It has been suggested here that 4110 has had other offers besides the pledges of the WSR group. Is this quoted post confirmation that the group are buying the locomotive? Or has the PLC yet to make its final decision; the end of this month was the deadline? The PLC might look favourably on the loco staying in Somerset but as it will be some while before it is operational again it presents no immediate reason to keep it there. I mentioned before that nothing could stop others increasing their offer if they really want 4110. Money talks, it is often said. There were other ways of raising the money that seems desperately needed, suggesting, to me, that 4110 is not a high priority item on the line.
     
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  19. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    I believe the purchase price of 4110 has only been pledged so far - so all the money is not necessarily in the bank yet.

    If any pledgers change their mind or don’t pay up for any reason, it could still fall through.
     
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  20. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Always them negative waves ... :eek:
     

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