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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Ian Monkton

    Ian Monkton Member

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    I've received an email from my Station Master, it's on the Staff website and I expect that an email from the PLC via HOPS will arrive soon. We volunteers appear to be taken care of quite well!
     
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  2. In fairness, Stef, the details of that meeting on 2 Feb were posted on the official website around the same time, same day.

    I'm sure the Railway respects your support.

    Not sure whether I can face a 400 mile round trip to the meeting :( but it seems to be the only way to get the actual "improvement" details ;)

    Steve
     
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  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not on the Bluebell - the last share issue (in 2007/8 as I recall) raised about £750k; since then the Trust has, through pure donation, raised about:

    2017 - £0.898m
    2016 - £1.229m
    2015 - £1.470m
    2014 - £1.08m
    2013 - £0.51m
    2012 - £1.49m

    i.e. nearly £7m in the last six years, or over a million year in donations. 2018 will I believe match that trend.

    There's probably a DPhil thesis in what motivates donors, but clearly our experience is that ownership doesn't really come into it. Speaking personally, my motivation for any donation is (1) do I support the objective? (2) will this make a difference? (3) do I judge that the recipient will spend the money wisely? If I can answer yes to all those, I'll donate, and don't want anything back except the sense of having helped make a difference to an objective I believe is worthwhile.

    [Edit: realised I had added the wrong figure for 2016 and 2017. Now corrected]

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  4. Faol

    Faol Well-Known Member

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    Stef are your details on HOPS up to date as I received my invite several days ago?
     
  5. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    I would have thought the gift aid is being overplayed. There are meny people of a certain age that whilst being able to give a donation to the charity do not have sufficient income to attract tax. If they dont pay tax it cannot be claimed back. The wsra figures assume all doners will pay tax. This will not be the case. Interest rates are low and produce little income.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
     
  6. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Do those numbers include legacies?
     
  7. Faol

    Faol Well-Known Member

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    Well folks that is another 3.5 hours of my life spent reading what everyone else is writing about the method of getting 4110 secured for the future use of the WSR. Can't say it was a riveting read but then again hundreds of pages on this thread are mostly conjecture mixed with good facts on how it is done elsewhere.
    What I would like to share is this:
    The WSR plc records what I believe to be 1200 volunteers on HOPS.
    The WSR plc uses approximately 400 volunteers to run services in busy weeks.
    The WSR plc's biggest asset is its locomotives? NOPE. Its Coaches? NOPE. Its PW? NOPE. Its Bank Account? NOPE. Its Paid Staff? NOPE
    The WSR plc's biggest asset is its volunteers who give freely of thousands of hours of labour, spend hundreds of pounds on uniforms, endlessly paint the infrastructure, manage the stations, clean the brass, sell the tickets, a million other things and generally present the Company in a favourable light to the public.
    So when is the WSR plc going to listen to the people who really run the railway, those hundred members who coughed up over £1000 each to secure 4110, for instance, and stop messing about with 'we will sell it to you, no we won't', 'we will sell to the WSRA', the P&D is making a bigger offer'.
    The WSR PLC is a Public Limited Company and is owned by the Shareholders. The Shareholders are getting a bit fed up with the shenanigans and if this PLC is not careful they will see the power of the people (shareholders) at the next AGM when they may just find that the Board who does not listen to the greatest asset is thrown out of office.
    Back to model railways
    ken
     
  8. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    You have missed my point. I wasn't saying that no-one will answer an appeal because they want a part of what they are supporting, I was saying that the reason the 4100 Ltd fund-raising was more successful than the appeal was because of attractions of part ownership. Ownership by the WSRA offers lots of advantages, but the sense of owning a small part of a steam loco is not one of them. This really shouldn't have to be explained to anyone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  9. Ferguson

    Ferguson New Member

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    Also, what about the large numbers of volunteers who did not want to renew membership of the WSRA or to continue volunteering due to the so called shenanigans over the past years. Some of these people have been associated with the railway for a long time, nobody has thought to approach these past members/volunteers to encourage them to return. Ignore volunteers at your peril.

    Ferguson
     
  10. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    Polite note to moderators: the discussion re donations to the Heritage Railway movement deserves a thread on its own as it is relevant much more widely than a 22 mile stretch in West Somerset.

    I do not count myself as a marketeer or indeed a professional fundraiser, but the key words for me are Trust, Heart, and sense of community. For example I do not donate to a certain very well known charity because I am aware that 90p of each £ is swallowed up in salaries and other overheads. Charities and indeed quasi charities such as some components of HR need to appeal to the heart, not the mind. That's why we see on TV ads showing harrowing images of dying children, asking for £3. We can also learn from these ads that they make it very easy just text to ……. on your smart phone. Giving also becomes a habit, and of course the charity now has your phone number to add to their database.

    Sense of community is much harder to define, at least for me, but what I do know is that it needs to be united in its aims and purpose.

    I am sure we can all learn from the likes of the Bluebell, SVR and I would add the L&B railway. Best practice and ideas need to be shared.
     
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  11. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I think that one of the reasons the Bluebell does so well with fundraising is because the preservation ethos is a the heart of what they do - they are not trying to be just another homogenised tourist railway. I have been told by a reliable source that the management on other of the larger railways view their sets of pre-BR coaches with disfavour because they don't have the seating capacity of Mk 1 TSOs, and the NYMR has just lent two MK 1 SKs to the GWSR for the same reason. I have always been an NYMR supported even though I live near Salisbury, but I could go to the Mid Hants, Swanage or even Bluebell and see a largely similar loco fleet pulling largely similar Mk 1s. From now on I'll be looking to support an operation with more of a heritage focus.
     
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  12. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    There is nothing wrong with what the WSRA and the WSR plc are proposing. It is an eminently sensible solution. What is badly wrong is the way they have gone about it. That's what people are angry about.
     
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  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes, although donations are greater.

    As a general rule of thumb (and there is no reason why this has to be the case, simply that it seems to be) legacies generally go to the Trust's general fund, whereas donations go to restricted funds. For example, in 2017, the figures were £206k unrestricted (likely to be from legacies) and £684k restricted (likely to be donations). The variability from year to year to some extent reflects variability in legacies (which cannot be predicted); it also reflects which major fundraising campaigns ran; for example, there was nothing in 2013 because there had been so much active fundraising over the previous years in the run up to opening to East Grinstead. This year (2018) the major campaign was around further work on the storage shed at Horsted Keynes, for which another £260k was raised in donations in the last couple of months of the year.

    Tom
     
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  14. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    Sincere thanks to those who responded to my post, reproduced above, particularly @Ian Monkton, @Faol and @West Somerset Wizard.

    To expand on what I said before............

    I am a WSR shareholder, not a volunteer or other staff member, so I would not expect to receive any information from either HOPS or any other staff website.

    I have queried in the past why I never get any direct communication from the Plc. Thinking that there may be an issue regarding GDPR I sent an e-mail to WSR on 7th November last year. I clearly asked for it to be forwarded to the person responsible and gave my express consent to the use of my e-mail address for any communications intended for shareholders. Remember, as @Yorkshireman has pointed out before, communication by e-mail costs the Plc nothing. I cannot say that I am surprised that I've never had any response to my request.

    As for notification of the meeting on 2nd February being posted on the official website. Steve, I certainly do not question what you say. You are, in my opinion, the most reliable source of information relating to the WSR around. But where did it appear? I visit the official website daily, always going to the 'news' section first, imagining that anything of importance would appear there.

    Sorry, but I feel that my support is not valued and I can unberstand how some of those associated with 4110 Ltd may feel right now.

    Stef.
     
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  15. Faol

    Faol Well-Known Member

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    I understand your frustration Stef. I have been a shareholder for many years and all I ever get is the 2 vouchers for free travel once a year and the AGM pack. The WSR has never been good at shareholder communication but I must say very few Companies do anything other than the report to shareholders when announcing the AGM. There is real scope for having a shareholder only area on the website but it has been suggested but never happens. However, as was mentioned some time ago shareholder value to the company is comparatively low.
     
  16. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

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    Exactly.

    It looks like the WSRA initially had no interest in buying 4110. However now they see that £100k has been pledged due to the hard work of the 4110 loco company, they think they are entitled to take that money and buy the loco for themselves.

    The truth may be completely different, but the way it’s been handled has left many people with this impression.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    Which is why I stated that the effective average from my experience is 15-20% uplift from Gift Aid rather than the potential 25%. My experience is that those with enough money to give a material donation do pay sufficient tax, but that there are more donors giving small sums who do not pay tax. This is important to appreciate as the higher number of small donors can give a distorted view of their economic worth - I have a very interesting graph which I use on occasion to make this clear.

    These observations are based on administering Gift Aid for a church, particularly regular giving (typically monthly). I’d expect the percentage of Gift Aid to be at the higher end of my range for a focused appeal.


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  18. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    This is a most important post so it does not need losing among other topics.

    Moreover it is from someone who is - and has been - deeply connected with the WSR and as far as I can see must reflect the feelings and views of many working volunteers on the line.
    Despite assurances by some here that everything is rosy down in Somerset this is obviously not so. This present tribulation is just a continuation of the disharmony that has plagued the line for a few years now. It can only be love of the line that has maintained the volunteer work force. Patience, however, is not inexhaustible!
     
  19. Hi Stef - it appeared on the official website before 6pm on Friday last. I'll relate part of my boring life last week: I'd received from the Plc at 5pm on that day, a request from the Plc to add the meeting letter and details on the news page of wsr.org.uk (such requests are common, from Plc WSRA, Steam Trust and so on). It was duly added and as usual I then checked the official website (thinking I might have beat 'em to it :) ) and was delighted to see they'd got it uploaded first (just as it should be). It seems I went to the front page whereas you go to the news page where it currently appears. There are, I believe, online processes (such as VisualPing) that can check for change on a nominated webpage and if changed, then email you - maybe subscribe to one of those?

    I do think it would be helpful if the Plc had an email list for shareholders.

    Finally, most of the topical written content of wsr.org.uk comes from the organisations and groups that make up the WSR family and I am mighty thankful for a regular supply over the last twenty years (crikes!).

    Hang on in there, folks...or I'll start comparing now with the early 1980s when things were very very dark indeed ;)

    Steve
     
  20. patriarch

    patriarch New Member

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    I think you are closer to the truth than you think. Once the WSRA saw the success of a focussed appeal, which in spite of earlier comments, seems to promise some action beyond the initial purchase, they saw it as outright competition, with the probability that monies that might just have gone to them for their stable of inoperable locomotives. would be lost to 4110 Ltd. They then decide to show interest and appear to connive with the Plc to play highwaymen. IMHO the WSRA will fail miserably to attract donations for another 'storage' project. The Plc and the WSRA are their own worst enemies.
     

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