If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    761
    Dear Mr Glover
    Many thanks indeed for providing us all with a very brief autobiography of your life on the railway, I am sure that we are all now much better informed of your credentials. We could expand on this, but I am not sure that everyone is going to welcome exchanges of this length. I do however have to say that I admire the somewhat misplaced faith in human nature which you display in your defence of the WSR's detractors on this particular section of Nat Pres, and wish you well in your efforts to rehabilitate them. And please do not confuse my intolerence of ill informed and destructive commentary with any lack of politeness. I can do politeness as well as anyone else when circumstances merit such, what I do not do is roll over and capitulate as modern trends in customer relations culture seem to require nowadays. I regret to say that I shall have to decline your suggestion of a course in public relations, there is no real need for it, particularly as the WSR possesses a truly professional practitioner when circumstances are sufficiently important to require PR input.
    Very Best Regards
    Bob Meanley
     
  2. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    13,965
    Likes Received:
    10,479
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Hey ho.

    Welcome, Bob, to life as normal on Nat Pres from the commentators/detractors/armchair experts (other descriptors are available) on the WSR thread. It's all a far cry from other heritage organisations you may know where, apart from the occasional hiccup, there is a synergy across workers, supporters and visitors.

    I recommend that you don't drink the local water as that may be at the route of the problem. ;)
     
    oddsocks, Greenway, weltrol and 3 others like this.
  3. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    9,870
    Likes Received:
    13,646
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    We try not to drink water locally...

    009BC5B3-B104-4FCB-BE24-A7FAAB28B873.jpeg

    Robin ;):Wacky:
     
    Swan Age, Yorkshireman, MattA and 7 others like this.
  4. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    456
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    34040
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Only 4% Alc vol I have drunk stronger tea.Why my old Nans tea you could stand a teaspoon upright in it. :rolleyes:
     
    Greenway likes this.
  5. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    1,930
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Nr Bridgwater, Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As somebody who loves the WSR it’s sad to sit on the side lines and see the current situation developing. Paid staff and volunteers being ‘sacked’ without recourse because they don’t agree with ‘the management’ and now customers being sacked and derided in public because their thoughts don’t align with the people in power.

    During my time fund raising for the WSRA in 2018 I worked closely with both Boards working out how to fill the big financial hole with large ticket fund raising. I stated openly and clearly too both more than once the only two things that stands in the WSR’s way are: 1. The structure has to change or large funders won’t fund, and 2. The top end culture of the WSR. Other than that the WSR has everything it needs, it’s a wonderful complete railway with every opportunity in place, it’s got many, many great, positive and dedicated volunteers at working level who are a credit to the line, many marketable assets, a lovely backdrop, etc. etc. etc. its all in place in spades.

    Unfortunately the last few posts are just another example of culture, whether the current WSR CME is right or wrong in his views is not relevant, it’s the wording: Its exclusive, dismissive and aggressive and that’s a part of the cultural issue the WSR has in my opinion. However to jump to his defence his views are a lot less pointed than many of his peers around him currently.

    The culture either includes the community (volunteers, locals, customers from afar, grant funders and even passive onlookers) or excludes them, my issues around culture started on this forum at post #18687 after I was sacked from the WSR as a volunteer with no reasoning, process or recourse. More have also been sacked both paid and volunteer and more again have been told in various ways if they comment in public they too will go as we have, sacked in much that same way as here and sometimes in much, much worst tones and actions. All because they didn’t 100% agree with management, this includes a long standing Fireman I reported on here about last week. So this is not just about not accepting the world has changed and there is no need for this new fangled, modern PR nonsense, its also a deeper issue.

    Yet nobody has questioned or taken the WSR senior management to task on this (either PLC or WSRA), it’s become accepted behaviour so I guess the people of the WSR must be happy with this style of management as they have accepted it and are carrying on regardless.

    So my question to them is simple: The WSR needs more money and more people. In basic terms it needs around £3.7 million pa going forward arguably more if you want to stop the bigger financial rot, that’s the existing £3.2 million turnover plus about £500k pa for infrastructure work. What do you want as the people of the WSR? An inclusive, community supported WSR or an exclusive gentleman’s club where senior management can exclude anybody from the members list they wish?

    It’s only my opinion and as always there is more than one way of skinning a cat but in simple easy terms it’s a choice. If it’s the inclusive community railway then people will want to come and they will be welcomed, they will bring their money and time in both large and small amounts and all will enjoy themselves in a positive environment. Or if it’s an exclusive gentleman’s club how are the number of ‘exclusive gentlemen’ (sorry should say people I know) going to divide up the £3.7 million between them to keep the WSR running. Please WSR work out what you want to be, the clock is still ticking.

    Is this post valid on a WSR Operations forum? I think it is, it’s all about operations and how you do it and as has been reported by many this maybe doesn’t just apply to the WSR as other preserved railways become heritage leisure attractions whether they like it or not (again moving modern times, accept it or stick your head in the sand). But maybe now it’s got to the stage of if the WSR can operate at some time in the future when the money and the people run out ?

    To end on a positive note there is some light, the WSRA have just announced that their Fund Raiser who I found, recruited and got the WSRA Board to engage on a part time basis is beginning to make an impact with a list of wins and money coming in for such things as 4561, Dunster Goods Yard, etc. This despite the structure being unacceptable to large funders so being restricted to smaller amounts at present, so well done Kate. That’s a win that both Kate Williams and the WSRA should be proud of, it’s also an indication that Grant Funding could be the white knight along with cultural change and inclusion, well done WSRA (its not often I’ve been able to say that recently).
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  6. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,870
    Likes Received:
    2,510
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It could well be that the cider, irrespective of its alcohol content, is more to blame than the water in West Somerset. :D
     
    Bluenosejohn and nine elms fan like this.
  7. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,870
    Likes Received:
    2,510
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Your wish has come true!
     
  8. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I've been on holiday for a week. I come back and what do I find, not too many posts celebrating the success of the WSR but a huge host of posts offering criticism. Mainly because the way the railway is run is not the way they would do it.

    Can the railway improve - yes it can.

    • Are there people working hard to improve the way it runs, how it engages with the community locally and nationally - yes there are.
    • Are there people working to raise funds - yes there are.
    • Are there working volunteer turning out to run the railway every day - yes there are.
    • Are there folks offering quiet support to the railway - yes there are.
    • Are there folks publishing blogs on things we do to help the railway - yes there are.
    • Are there regular news letters to members - yes there are.

    I'd be interested to know how many of the naysayers on this thread can tick any of the above boxes? If you can't tick one of the above then please ask yourself it what way are you assisting the railway? If you wish it to fail then just keep up the criticism and perhaps the rest of us will get tired and give up. Just don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen anytime soon. If you truly want to help then write to me c/o the WSRA and I'll find you a job to do that suits your skills, talent and availability as part of the team running the railway. Needless to say you all know that there is no "I" in "Team" already.
     
  9. j&mkeynes

    j&mkeynes Guest

    Had a very nice morning following Foxcote across the glorious Somerset countryside. WSR crew all well turned out and efficient too - always difficult to fault. Only odd note was the lack of information anywhere to see about the shuttle trial in two weeks time. Might be missing a trick there, or maybe I shouldn't have cancelled that last optician's appointment.

    Sent from my SM-J530F using Tapatalk
     
  10. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    1,777
    Location:
    Bristol
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    There seems to be an attitude among some people - not limited to the above post and not limited to the WSR - that there is no middle ground. If you're not actively volunteering, fundraising, donating money to the WSR, then you must actively want it to fail. If you're posting to this thread and not doing any of the prescribed list of supporters' activities then, the theory seems to go, you are clearly a bad person and part of the problem.

    It's a strange idea - as is the associated one that "we've told you how to apply to volunteer - so now you have no excuses for not volunteering"

    "There is, however, an M and an E" as one acquaintance of mine frequently said.
     
  11. mvpeters

    mvpeters Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    617
    Likes Received:
    707
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    There's a good link here: http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm#1829
    but double-check the times just before you travel - there are a couple of 3-4 minute differences from the previous announcement.
     
    j&mkeynes likes this.
  12. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,545
    Likes Received:
    1,520
    There is no middle ground - you either support the railway in a demonstrable way by contributing, volunteering or simply as a paying visitor or you don't do any of these ever. If the latter is the case why are you interested?
     
  13. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,870
    Likes Received:
    2,510
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Your post, sadly, reflects much of the insularity that is reflected in many WSR supporters posts. This is National Preservation and most here are interested in all aspects of preservation and heritage - not just railways, although railways do take up most of the topics. I am certain many lines, up and down the country, have benefited by getting visits and donations from Members of NP purely from the information and their interest in the various threads here. Most NP contributors want the WSR to remain solvent and operating but many of the comments made here, frequently of an antagonistic nature by some WSR folk, it has to be said, do not encourage the needed financial support. A glance at NP Members details and locations will tell you that many are already highly committed volunteers or supporters of heritage lines and museums; they just don't happen to live that close to West Somerset. Many also have great experience in heritage lines and how they work. There has been some very informative posts made in this long running thread which were intended to give advice, but I guess it is always done differently in Somerset! And of course many are outside the magic 200 miles.
     
    joe_issitt, mdewell, baldbof and 21 others like this.
  14. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,290
    Likes Received:
    1,418
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    Could be because that person is a railway enthusiast who lives a long distance from Minehead and is contributing to/volunteering for other railways? Doesn't stop that person being interested in the WSR and maybe contributing/visiting/volunteering at some point in the future. Maybe best not to burn bridges with people...

    Keith
     
    joe_issitt, 21B, mdewell and 18 others like this.
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,429
    Likes Received:
    24,038
    Location:
    21C102
    That view does rather preclude those who might be potential donors, volunteers or visitors; as well as those who may have done those things in the past and, after a break, are considering a return.

    The issues facing the WSR - tough finances, greater regulatory oversight, governance, renewal of heritage assets - are not unique to the WSR; they are being faced one way or another across the sector. Hence the widespread interest from many here on Nat Pres. The apparent insularity frequently on display - "if you are not with us, you're against us" - does seem a peculiarly Somerset thing though.

    Tom
     
    joe_issitt, Miff, daveb and 20 others like this.
  16. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    1,777
    Location:
    Bristol
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I have to say, I don't really understand why anybody would hold such a divisive and closed-minded opinion. The world is not divided into WSR Supporters and The Rest Of The Universe.

    I like trains. That doesn't mean I have to visit, donate money to and volunteer at every single railway in the country. It does mean that I am interested in what goes on, to some extent, at all of them.

    There are a whole host of reasons why I don't visit or volunteer at the WSR, specific to me. There are a few tens of millions more people out there just in the UK who don't visit or volunteer at the WSR, and I am sure all of them have their own reasons for not doing so. That doesn't mean they should be written off; that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to discuss the WSR at all.
     
    Romsey, Miff, j&mkeynes and 24 others like this.
  17. oldmrheath

    oldmrheath Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,765
    Likes Received:
    1,515
    I believe the heritage railway movement is so interlinked that even the latter example you mention probably in some way touches on the West Somerset no matter tenuous that might appear. Examples might include supporting a railway or locomotive owning group which provides a loco for a West Somerset gala. Maybe that railway uses a contract engineering facility also used by WSR and so WSR benefits from economies of scale. Simply visiting a heritage railway adds to the industry and gives the business more of a voice when , for example, arguing the need for affordable coal in the face of expected legislation.

    Put quite simply, someone supporting the heritage railway movement is , in some way and to a greater or lesser extent, supporting the WSR and so I don't think its wrong for them to take an interest in its well-being,

    Jon
     
  18. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Let me be clearer in what I said:
    There are a number of folks who post in this thread with the express intent of rubbishing the WSR. Their posts are not in any way balanced. There is inevitable criticism of "they" and suggestions of how it should be done differently. to your point, every invitation to join up and bring their talent to help is ignored.
    There are also a number who provide thoughtful and well balanced commentary, much of which is pertinent. Where it is I can assure you I not only read it but think long and hard about the content.
    It's the lack of balance that most disturbs me. I wonder why it should be so?
    The WSR is far from perfect but every mistake is highlighted and picked to death and yet the triumphs, small as they may currently be, seem to be disregarded by poster on NP.
    You are correct that the sector faces a crisis, something that has been said on NP many times. One would think that those who frequent this site would be worried about that and expressing concern about how to keep heritage rail alive? Re-read my comments in that context if you have a moment. I'd really hope that NP members would be leading the fight to save heritage rail in the UK by whatever means they can manage.
     
    Another Yorkshireman, 35B and horace like this.
  19. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Another Yorkshireman likes this.
  20. Anne C-B

    Anne C-B Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2016
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    300
    Location:
    UK
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Unfortunately the only real opportunity to take the PLC to task is at the AGM with some pertinent questions.
     
    aldfort likes this.

Share This Page