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. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes to all you say. The SVR, which I know best, has 11 charitable bodies associated with the railway.

    The GW(SVR)A is paying the SVR for mechanical work on Hawksworth 2242, which incidentally funds paid staff at Kidderminster C&W working with social distancing during the lockdown.

    EDIT: Similarly 4150 Fund, boiler work at Bridgnorth.

    In response to the SVR's urgent appeal The 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust decided it should make a donation as the new build project stands and falls with it.

    The SVR Charitable Trust funds the SVR’s Heritage Skills Training Academy and team of apprentices, and is substantially funding the £1m overhaul of the PLC's 4930 Hagley Hall for the reasons you state. It funds materials for track replacement and much else besides. What it is not able to fund, fulfilling its charitable purposes as set out in its objects, is all of the SVR's costs during the emergency.

    Back on thread, again those close to the WSR can comment how these examples do or don't relate to the WSR family.

    Patrick
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    10,215
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Was it just me that winced at every mention of "Plc"? Our own chairman put out a short video update last week, mainly addressing questions about when volunteers can go back to work so a different subject, but he was definitely speaking for "the railway". Mr Jones-Pratt was clearly speaking only for the WSR Plc, and that didn't sit quite right with me. "The charities" felt very distant, a useful sideshow perhaps, but hardly an integral part of the railway. I thought it very emblematic that the WSR now has 2 'official' Youtube channels!
    I agree with Tom, although the structure of the WSR is clearly problematic from a governance point of view, I don't think it needs to be a restriction on funding. It feels more like an excuse put forward by those exploiting the problematic structure from the governance side of things. There are surely creative ways in which charities can help fund the survival of the WSR, that is after all their raison d'etre. I was going to say that perhaps more meetings between the Plc and charities would probably be helpful, but I seem to recall reading that meetings betwixt the organisations have occurred. They may well have been very interesting and even productive, but it doesn't feel like any of the bodies are remotely in step with each other.
     
    jnc, Will Foster, Swan Age and 7 others like this.
  3. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,689
    Likes Received:
    7,012
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think the question to be asked has to be, how does the Plc. see the charitable organisations? does it see them as an equal partner, or as an hindrance? does it, or more to the point the board, see the others as being an asset, or a drain, on their intentions? or just as a money providing outlet, to be used only for what the board require of it ? the answer should tell you everything you need to know, i believe that, ThePLc board might prefer to have no charitable organisations, unless they have control over them, to demand they fund their railway . and an compliant workforce that don't ask uncomfortable questions, clearly, if this is the case, some members of the board are displaying clear narcissistic tendencies .
     
    jnc likes this.
  4. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Warwickshire, formerly Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I don't think there is one, you have to listen to Mr Jones Pratt putting his thoughts across, which, in itself, I find, helps the forming of a view as to the rights and wrongs of the situation in which the WSR finds itself.

    Sent from my SM-T590 using Tapatalk
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  5. 60044

    60044 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    395
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Salisbury
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It seems to me that there might be a way forward, and it might be relatively non-nuclear! That would be for the WSRA to launch and use a Covid appeal to inject money into the Plc by buying shares and effectively buying control of the Plc. If they could generate the same sort of response that they managed with the 4160 appeal it would be very hard for the Plc to resist. There could then be a peaceful Boardroom reset and the use of charitable money could be justified by the injection of cash and securing of a WSRA asset.
     
    jnc, Swan Age, MellishR and 1 other person like this.
  6. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,689
    Likes Received:
    7,012
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Honestly, that will go down like a lead balloon, can you imagine the current board agreeing to the sale of enough shares to enable any one, other than their selves to have a controlling interest it takes away their power.
     
  7. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,255
    Likes Received:
    1,520
    Occupation:
    Solicitor
    Location:
    South Wales
    I don’t think a charity is permitted to buy shares in a PLC. The issue would be how that would fit in with the charitable objects of the organisation. No dividend is paid so no financial benefit. Equally the voting rights are negligible given the number of shares held.

    I believe this is subject has been discussed before, the WSRA shareholding is either pre charity status or where members have left their shares to the WSRA in their Will.

    to be honest it’s not that difficult for the charity to provide a cash advantage to the Plc for general funds, NNR Company just sold Ring Haw and the DMU to the charity. Result- vehicles stay on the Railway and Company gets an un-obligated cash injection.

    Regards

    Matt
     
    horace and flying scotsman123 like this.
  8. D7076

    D7076 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    269
    If the charity objectives of either supporting charity was ‘supporting the West Somerset Railway ’,and they had a Covid 19 fundraise with gift aid availability,what would turn prevent either:
    1)Donation to Plc to cover costs during no revenue or,
    2)Preferably the purchase of shares rather than a donation.
    I’m talking newly raised funds not any previous specific donations that are ring fenced for specific purposes .
    The obvious potential problems are the Plc Board not having immediate control of funds and being answerable to the charity and possibly a lack of trust.
    I’m pretty certain without looking the Wensleydale Railway Assoc is a major shareholder in the Plc having purchased shares to inject cash as a similar example .
     
    MellishR likes this.
  9. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    40
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer

    If the plc went into administration, whether by the directors choosing to do so, or a creditor forcing it, then control passes to the administrators. Their job is to try & raise enough funds to pay off debts, whether by selling off assets (if everything that's liquidation), or selling the business in a way where debts get satisfied (usually the purchaser agrees to take on a % of the debt).
    You wouldn't buy the shares, as they would have zero value, & you couldn't even buy them, as trading would be suspended.
    To buy the business, you need money, & a plan for paying off the debt.
    https://www.realbusinessrescue.co.u...hen-a-company-is-bought-out-of-administration
    https://www.pwc.co.uk/services/business-restructuring/administrations/brs-admin-faq.html
     
  10. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    10,215
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Perhaps I should have said "If the plan involved buying WSR Plc shares at a knockdown price instead of going into administration"? Because as you say, once a company is in administration, it's the administrators running the show. I'm not an expert in business management, in fact I know very little, but enough to know that the plot as described by Andy would be very bad news indeed.
     
  11. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    40
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer

    Won't work, as SCC would have to show that they got the best value from the sale.
    That might not be the most cash up-front, it could include covenants, sale to a registered charity, etc. All things that prevent it being borrowed against & potentially lost.



    on a general note; if you've got the funds to purchase something outright, you wouldn't then borrow against it. 1- you wouldn't be able to borrow 100% of the value, 2- even with low interest rates, you end up making a loss.

    on a specific note; the actual trackbed itself would have little value, & would only be of interest to adjoining properties like farms. SCC will know that, & any other potential purchasers will know that, & so will any surveyors & lenders.
    Which means that anything of value is elsewhere, station yards, station buildings etc. Again, the value of those would be known by anyone interested.
    So you can't buy the freehold from SCC at £1m & then borrow £3m against it.



    As for 'they could borrow against it, have an overdraft, etc', that can only happen if someone is willing to lend the money.
    There are already charges against everything currently owned by the plc, & the last accounts show a loss.
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01010188/charges
    The annual report to 31 March 2019 contains the line "In the end the bank did provide a facility albeit at a far lower level than we had previously enjoyed."


    I also don't get this fascination with buying the freehold. Surely SCC are a good landlord, & the lease runs until 2088. :confused:
     
  12. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,707
    Likes Received:
    3,911
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Tom,

    Just to say quickly that you have provided a pretty accurate picture of how an operating company could work with a support charity to mutual benefit. I've highlighted how not to do it in your post which I've quoted in this reply.
     
  13. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,156
    Likes Received:
    2,634
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Instrumentation, Control & Automation Engineer
    Location:
    East Sussex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I see Shearings Coach holiday business has collapsed into administration.

    Did they bring any significant number of coach parties to the railway?
     
  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    10,215
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    They certainly did to the GWSR, to the extent that I think they were one of the few companies we had pre-printed reservation signs for (rather than write them out on the day).
     
  15. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    151
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Also to IOWSR, to a large part in the shoulder season.
     
  16. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,572
    Likes Received:
    1,934
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    Very curious that you should point that line out Mike. Isn't that exactly what the PLC did to the S&DRT, and when the S&DRT said no, the PLC started the eviction process? Strange that the WSRA (that you chair) supported that action in siding with the PLC, as mentioned in the recent press releases and here you are seemingly disagreeing with the PLC's method, which surely means you must disagree with the consequential eviction notice too.

    Robin has also disagreed with the facts as presented in a recent WSRA statement (see post 25340 on this thread). It would seem that statements going out from the WSRA don't carry the support of at least 2 of the trustees who are supposed to be making the decisions!

    Yet again things in West Somerset seem to work completely illogically to the rest of the world. Maybe it's time (finally!) for people to stand up and be counted. Nail your colours to the mast and state the truth. If that means you get your ID card removed then that's the price of justice and you will know how others feel, having been similarly unfairly treated, but you will also know that you have principles and stood up for what is right. Maybe that will have a galvanising effect and allow a reform group to assemble.

    Keith
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  17. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As I pointed out in a previous post, any buyer other than the Plc would be buying the land with an existing lease in force to the WSR Plc. This reduces the land's value on the open market considerably, but if the Plc buys the land the lease becomes void and the land returns to its full market value, against which the Plc can borrow more money than it would need to borrow to buy the land in the first place.
     
  18. nick813

    nick813 Well-Known Member Loco Owner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    1,087
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    poole dorset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    More News:
    http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm#2045



    I find anyone/company/politician that uses the term 'Open and Honest' somewhat suspicious. add the word 'wishes to be'.........then all my alarm bells ring. The implication of the term is that most of the time that person/company/politician is not open nor honest.


    my thoughts

    Nick
     
  19. Piggy

    Piggy New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2020
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    100
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The point you made is perfectly understood ( but the grammar is mildly convoluted ), 'or' goes with 'is' and 'neither' goes with 'nor'.
    I know it's pedantic but our language is a wonderful thing !
     
  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    11,932
    Likes Received:
    8,702
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If I’d received an at risk letter, I’d find that statement neither open nor honest. While I understand the legal position before the consultation ends, the reality is that those letters start a 45day clock ticking for the recipients, at the end of which redundancy is likely. Having worked alongside recipients of similar letters before, words like “provisional” or “consultation” have a hollow ring and make the experience if anything worse, holding out the insult of hope where little really exists.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    jnc, ross, Piggy and 1 other person like this.

Share This Page