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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Anne C-B

    Anne C-B Member

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    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
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    Not home in on one specific would be a good start. There's a lot going on the railway with numerous disciplines and skills involved.

    Whilst the permanent way is most obviously the most pressing problem such things as shops, rolling stock, S&T, stations, training, recruitment, locomotives, overnight accommodation for staff, RAMS, catering, and everything else are still important as without them we will not have an operating railway. So many activities are also necessary to keep the railway operating, many of which are never reported, here or anywhere else. I don't expect to hear from the railway only when there is a crisis, I just what to be kept abreast of what happening to the whole railway on a frequent basis. I don't suppose many supporters appreciate only hearing from the railway with each crisis.
     
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  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I agree on the latter point, which has been something of a frustration for me for quite some time (it never seemed to have the same enthusiasm since the late Malcolm Temple resigned). The board have formally given up on that blog which is a crying shame, partly I suspect as a result of all the abuse over the Broadway cafe debacle both public and private, but the rest of the blogs seem to be kept as up to date as ever. A few have "moved home" so to speak and some folk still looking at the old addresses may get the perception that things have simply stopped.
     
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  3. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    And thereby hangs the problem with blogs and websites. Most are set up and run by enthusiastic members of the team or department concerned who have both the technical skills to write reports and upload photos and the time to do so. But over time people's circumstances change and the blog editor no longer has the time to write the blog or perhaps is no longer able to spend as much time volunteering on the railway. And there there might not be anyone with the requisite skill and time to take over the blog.
     
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  4. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    That is exactly the issue!
     
  5. Robin

    Robin Member

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    As a casual visitor, go to the official WSR home page.
    https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk
    Where is there any evidence that the WSR is seeking funding for this? Home page - no mention. Follow the obvious links. As far as I can see, Support us - no mention. The Railway - no mention. I find that a little surprising...
     
  6. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Fair points and The Journal does try to do this, but as others have mentioned it needs a correspondent in each department to write the articles. Currently we have a need for more people to write journal articles. We can't afford to pay people to do this, it needs to be largely volunteer effort.
     
  7. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Do you have web skills that could be of use to the WSR in updating the web site or do you know others who might have the skills and be prepared to help?
    All current supporters have been written to and as has been said many times the support charities are leading on fundraising because of the gift aid that can be claimed.
    We still need more help to join everything up, do let me know if you can assist?
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well yes, they are all reliant on individuals, but so are so many things and that's no reason not to try - what happens to Steve's website when there's no Steve? At least this way in effect the role is subdivided between each department. At least 3 of our blogs are co-authored to share the workload too so if someone goes it's not the end of it all.
     
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  9. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    And once again we go around the circle: "your website doesn't mention X" is met with "you should volunteer to fix it, then"

    Is there any evidence that, were someone to phone up WSR HQ tomorrow and say "I want to rejig your website please," they would be welcomed with open arms?

    As for regarding the necessary skills: I note the WSR official site was put together by a small local web design firm. I would expect them to have designed it around some sort of content management system to make it easy to change the content without needing any technical skills to do so. The hard part - and the part that requires people who know what they are talking about, not a random volunteer web developer or a UX designer - is actually writing the content

    The WSRA has been making really good steps forward on this with the 9351* blog - it's the people behind that who maybe should be overhauling the WSR official site content, not random Nat Pres users?

    (No disrespect to @Robin intended - I hope it doesn't embarrass him to mention that in the past he's provided a lot of content on a preserved railway website project which I was also tangentially involved with, so I do know he knows what he's talking about)

    * not checking if I've got the right digits in the right order here!
     
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  10. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    When you say the support charities are leading, previously we have been advised that for the WSRA at least, it is not possible for it to make grants to the plc (or presumably otherwise fund) certain types of infrastructure costs. Assuming this is still the case, what is being done about funding of such infrastructure? It may be helpful for potential donors to understand what the overall funding plan looks like.
     
  11. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    A couple of points to inform debate.

    I was, of course, fairly central to the effort to reform the WSRA. Those at the centre of things wore the badge of having their WSRA membership allegedly (but ineffectually) removed, and given both my professional status, and my personal inclination, folk will know that I have no difficulty speaking my mind in an appropriate venue, and saying what I believe needs to be said. There is an old quote about 'speaking truth to power' which I endorse.

    Last year I judged that sufficient water had passed under the bridge that it was appropriate to offer myself for WSRA Trusteeship again, and was priviledged to be elected. Little did I know the choppy waters that the WSRA and WSR plc would then have to sail through, and are still sailing through. Acting corporately, as both a Trustee of the WSRA (and so the major shareholder in the WSR plc) brings with it certain responsibilities. You can be sure that the WSRA Trustees have expressed their views on events appropriately and frankly with the WSR plc. But we are not the WSR plc and are there to support them, not BE them. That support necessarily involves not randomly commenting on social media on every twist and turn in difficult times.

    We are trying to do things differently and better. I had some hand in establishing the 9351 blog (but others do the hard work) and you will see improvement elsewhere. But understand that the Railway, as a whole, has been through tough times and is climbing out of a hole not made by those now building the ladders. Such processes are by their very nature 'lumpy' and I don't doubt will continue to be 'lumpy' for a while to come until calmer waters are reached.

    One specific. I have seen comment about the treatment of volunteers. On the WSR and elsewhere, given my professional background in employment, professional discipline, railway regulation and like matters, I am often asked to help with such matters. It will be understood that I never comment publicly on such matters but the assumption that this assistance is not available to WSR folk is wrong. Indeed, some of those making adverse comment above know that it has been provided in the past and will always be while I am a WSR volunteer and particularly a WSRA Trustee, and I have a close line of communication to those dealing with such matters for the relevant bodies and always adopt the Bar Code of Conduct approach in being 'fearless' in representing those who ask for my help, be they the 'accused', those conducting process, or those otherwise involved. Whether I am providing such assistance at the moment comes into the 'never comment' category.

    Meanwhile, I have had a delightful afternoon in the lanes and by-ways of West Somerset recovering after two months of the most intense professional work, and the opportunity to lean over a fence and take the photo below, is one of the many reasons I will be a heritage railway volunteer (in Somerset and elsewhere) until my dying day.

    Evnin' all.

    Robin

    Pan.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  12. 2392

    2392 Member

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    Good for you Robin. Hopefully you'll bring a refreshed eye/view to the overall management to the W.S.R. and help get the line out of the problems that have arisen, so more power to your elbow. As for your pest problem over the fence, all I can say is that it looked better in London Transport Red numbered L92?
     
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  13. Anne C-B

    Anne C-B Member

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    I'm not at all sure this website is the place for an appeal. I regard it as a tool to encourage visitors who just want a day out on a steam railway. An appeal for money to bring the permanant up to standard is inappropriate here.

    Ideally there should be a one stop website for supporters and enthusiasts where we can go every so often and see what's going on over the complete railway. This is where the appeal for funding needs to be.
     
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  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    EVERYONE can help. An hour's work, a membership of the WSRA, a donation to an appeal, a visit to the line. That is how the line has been built from what I first knew in 1979, and how it will progress.

    And I am NOT getting into a livery debate!

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  15. 2392

    2392 Member

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    Quite right too Robin;).
     
  16. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    You'll find details of the fund raising appeals for the track renewal and restoration of 4561 along with some WSR news on this website https://www.wsra.org.uk/
    You'll also find details of the appeals and WSR news on this website http://www.wsr.org.uk/

    OK, so that's two websites not one but then nothing is perfect in this world.
     
  17. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    They probably wouldn't accept such an offer, even if they wanted to. Looking at the bottom of the home page it would appear that the WSR PLC's website is created and maintained by an external web design agency. And from the contact I've had with external design agencies they want paying for each and every change they make and your request goes in the queue of work to be done along with all the others.
     
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  18. Paul.Uni

    Paul.Uni New Member

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    L94

    L92 is 5786, based at South Devon Railway
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  19. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    9351 ‘fresh out of the box’ at Minehead this afternoon.

    A bit of 'running in' to do but not long now.

    Robin

    63464B4C-D3BD-48D4-B2A2-1443832B5A7B.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  20. D1002

    D1002 Well-Known Member

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    That’s a lovely picture Robin, but I still don’t understand the significance of the number. The last GWR mogul was 9319, so why 9351? There’s probably an explanation somewhere in this thread but I’m not wading through 20,000 posts to find out:).
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019

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