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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I remain curious about the timing of Mr. Whitehouse's departure from the WSRA. His "calls on my time elsewhere, particularly from my family, are too great for me to continue” is almost a parody of the usual 'spend more time with my family' statements put out when a high corporate personality leaves for reasons they wish to leave unstated. Maybe it is a coincidence, but I remain uneasy.

    Noel

    Edit: Fix Mr. Whitehouse's name.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  2. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting that, so we can all see what the PLC management is saying.
    More assets being moved to the company, where they will be available to creditors in the event that the PLC is unable to right itself. (Although I understand that there are good reasons for that re-alignment; this is just an observation.)

    And no, I don't wish to see the PLC fail, but given what the now-Chairman said recently about how close to the edge the PLC was, it's something all those who care about the WSR need to be concerned about.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  3. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I can’t comment, and applied a cursory and lay look to what @Jamessquared had posted, though I still feel the argument could be made given the location and circumstances.

    My greater concern would be the impact on current and potential supporters of a body oriented towards the S&D, even in exile, pivoting to function, however briefly, as a WSR supporter body.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Hmm, what you're driving at kind of assumes that if the Plc went belly up without owning those assets they could continue independently though.
     
  5. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

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    The Swindon Shed has always belonged to WSR Plc. It was leased to the WSRA for their Restorations business, and that business is, as I understand it, now being transferred to WSR Plc.
    The ownership of the BL shop was less clear. The original station as left by BR clearly belongs to the PLC. Under a "back of a fag packet" arrangement agreed many years ago, the WSRA was allowed to build the building housing the BL shop and cafe, and operate their shop and cafe business from there, in return for being responsible for the maintenance of all the BL station buildings. There was no formal lease between the two organisations in respect of the shop, nor was any rent paid.
    As recommended by Coombes, all this has now been sorted out under a new agreement, all the buildings at BL now clearly belong to the PLC, and the shop and cafe business has also been transferred to them.


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  6. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Well, I have no idea what could/would happen in that eventuality, in terms of possibly continuing operations. (E.g. could a new PLC be set up somehow, and buy up the physical assets of the old one?) Maybe nothing, in which case all the business sub-units would be of no use/value, and it would be basically irrelevant who owned them. (Which was, I guess, your point?).

    Noel
     
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  7. Station Clock

    Station Clock New Member

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    Does the plc have a more exciting plan for Washford? Mark Smith's explanation just sounds like a case of sour grapes to me and I have passed the question on to the Association in the hope that the plc will be pressured into providing a more detailed answer. Have to say I am not inclined to make any further donations to any part of the WSR in the current climate.
     
  8. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    What a PR disaster for the WSR PLC!

    And the logic of the statement from WSR PLC Vice Chair Mark Smith just does't cut the mustard. The S &D Trust cannot donate as a gift what they don't have, even if they legally were able to do, which they can't!

    There must be a lot more to all this than has been disclosed today.

    And as Roger pointedly notes, the S &D Trust was given a new 25 year lease just 2 years ago.

    Perhaps we will get an abundance of pics of Stogumber station in the next few days - daffodils and snowdrops on the cattle dock and around vintage cars.

    I am sure we can all remember 'Return to Evercreech Junction' years ago with Ivo Peters etc and the recreation of Milford Box at Washford; and for years and years the S &D Trust have maintained Washford station, relieving the WSR PLC of this expense.

    And this is how they get summarily treated, after all these years; a solicitor's letter with notice to quit.

    There are lots of preserved railways who would like to have loco S&D '88', and this whole debacle seems completely nonsensical and shortsighted and very badly handled by the WSR PLC board.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  9. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Well-Known Member

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    Some good news to report:

    Somerset CAMRA and WSR plc have reached amicable agreement for the WSR/CAMRA Real Ale & Cider Festival to return to its traditional venue on Minehead Station platform. The event will open at midday on each of 5th, 6th & 7th June. Thanks are due to Gala Planning Team for brokering this arrangement to support the 2020 Diesel Gala. Full details very soon.

    Barrie Childs
    Chairman
    Somerset Branch
    Campaign for Real Ale
     
  10. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    I see it rather differently...…...

    A problem has been created where there is no apparent cause. The group are legally prevented from handing over cash to upgrade the line so complaining that they don't contribute in direct financial terms is pure moonshine. Washford station and yard are arguably the prettiest halt on the line and the P Way team have Dunster which in turn has better road access etc. etc. etc. At this time, Washford has no strategic value to the plc who have already said there is little free cash to do anything other than replace track. The next capital project appears to be carriage accommodation. Does Washford make sense ? Nope !

    Let's roll the clock forward a bit....

    • The S&D group may be goaded into removing their locomotive.
    • A locomotive owner may "come to the rescue" and declare that they are doing the WSR a favour. Especially if they recently sold another loco (why do owners sell ?) and more funds are needed to keep the other loco(s) maintained.
    • Those locos may have higher axle loads
    • How lucky, lots of cash has recently been extracted from pockets to carry out upgrades and replacements. Much of this was required anyway but suddenly, all the ducks line up.

    In any situation, always ask who benefits and you will find the answer........... just saying folks. Now ask yourself if having 4110 owned by an independent group of volunteers, would have been inconvenient. I suggest that the WSRA, Steam Trust and the DEPG keep a very close eye on how this is playing out.

    The best strategy for the S&D is to keep 88 at the WSR but be prepared for changes in the contractual terms. It's salami tactics i.e. slice by slice.
     
  11. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    I'd be wary of jumping to conclusions too fast there. It may be linked; it may well be pure coincidence.
     
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  12. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Yes it is a PR disaster but also so much more. The S&DRT Facebook page now has 150 comments all very negative, it’s on Advent Rail’s website and I’ve already had a couple of senior people from other railways ask me “what the hell is going on” and all this in 1 day. In my opinion this is now getting serious both in terms of reputation for the future and physical ‘ability to function’ as a railway given the background of falling passenger and volunteer numbers.

    This ongoing strategy of do as I say or you are a trouble maker and will leave is the stated strategy which people voted for at the AGM recently. Some may recall my previous posts about me being removed, HR Policies being scrapped, etc. and no-doubt some will have thought I was exaggerating and just a trouble maker who deserved to be removed. Perhaps now my previous posts make a bit more sense, this is the way things are done now, genuflect or leave.

    So the question is: At what point do the Shareholders and Stakeholders of the WSR say stop, or indeed say yes we support it? I’m sure the removal of some volunteers and staff plus the likes of 4110 & 44422 leaving, all gone because they didn’t do as they were told and/or wouldn’t put their hands deep into their pockets could be put down to “some tough decisions having to be made” which is the party line. However now it’s whole groups and part of the ‘string of pearls’ developed over nearly 40 years. To be clear the begging bowl was passed around all groups on the WSR recently so expect ‘further developments’ for those who won’t/can’t comply.

    As you say Julian perhaps instead of pictures of ‘Snow Drops & Daffodils’ the main shareholders of the PLC should stop sitting quietly on the fence and come out and say yes, this is the way forward or no this has to stop and a different path needs to be taken? Perhaps doing nothing & waiting for somebody else to sort it out is not working?

    Just to be clear on where I stand for future record, as a PLC Shareholder I do not support this strategy and remain unable to volunteer today because of my views. I’ve expressed my views to the man directly to his face so I’m not going behind anybody’s back, and he has been confirmed why I was exiled and will remain so (so not need for the Mod’s to feel uneasy). I also voted against him at the AGM.
     
  13. 007

    007 Member

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    This is astonishing news. I can't understand the WSR at the moment. I really don't know how they can keep going like this, Green shoots of recovery apparently? Let's hope that's true.
     
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  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Thinking about it of course the obvious 'trade off' were the S&DRT to leave they could demand the termination of the hire of 53808 in lieu of damages for termination of the lease.

    Or there may be clauses in the loco hire contract that could be invoked, such as the financial position of the railway making it unlikely that they could afford the next overhaul
     
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  15. Blackdown Boy

    Blackdown Boy New Member

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    I take it that you will standing for the position of association chairman in the next election.
     
  16. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Mind you though, I dont know exactly how old he is but I imagine that he may well be at an age where he or his wife/partrners health may start to become an issue
     
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  17. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    What would be the point? Andy can't volunteer due to the chairman's policies and in any case the wsra do not seemingly have any influence over the plc.

    Keith
     
  18. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Why not, I don't believe he could do any worse than the present chairman. :)
     
  19. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Friends, at least try to get Paul Whitehouse's name right. He served the WSRA and it's member well for over 4 years as Co-Sec, Trustee and Chairman.
     
  20. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for your comment and the other couple above. It would have been a good question to ask. However I'm not eligible, I resigned my membership of the WSRA after I was not supported as a Volunteer and the WSRA rules state that to stand somebody has to have been a member for at least a year.
     

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