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. Dennis John Brooks

    Dennis John Brooks Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    850
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Did the tidy trains run?

    DJB.
     
  2. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,810
    Likes Received:
    2,473
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I suspect, as far as the guys who were prepared to pledge enough money to enable 4110 Ltd. to have sufficient funds to buy 4110 from the PLC were concerned, the question of Gift Aid, VAT and other red herrings are concerned, is irrelevant.
    Their objective to keep 4110 in Somerset was achieved in record time, well within the time frame required by the PLC.
    I firmly believe that should they have been successful then 4110 would have been subjected to a positive restoration fund raising campaign which would have had success, rather than the half cocked joint PLC/WSRA current restoration appeal, . A few here have suggested they would never see 4110 operational, but I believe that with the determined, progressive attitudes of people like the 4110 Group it would have been sooner rather than later.
     
    tracker, Triumph 2500S, echap and 3 others like this.
  3. lochness8

    lochness8 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    287
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Businessman
    Location:
    Weston super Mare
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A very sensible suggestion.

    Would people berating the PLC and WSRA management on here please have a bit of restraint and realise that many of them too are volunteers with, I genuinely believe, the best interests of the railway at heart - the way forward set out in the WSRA/PLC joint statement and later clarification from the PLC Chairman have clearly angered a fair number of people and yes I can understand why but actually when all is said and done, the CONTENT of what is being proposed is actually quite sensible when you stand back and look at it objectively.

    4110 Ltd & supporters can, I am sure, still have their cake and eat it - just follow the advice in @flyingscotsman123’s post, engage with the WSRA and I’m sure something positive can be found out of this.

    Faces saved all round, loco saved for the WSR, Gift Aid benefits realised, enthusiastic supporters of 4110 can still take a lead in the restoration and ‘own’ the project.

    But if we carry on hurling stones at each other then there is only going to be one result.
     
  4. lochness8

    lochness8 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    287
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Businessman
    Location:
    Weston super Mare
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    And another thing!

    Isn’t there a good parallel with the wagon group here? The wagon group is (or was - haven’t seen much activity lately) quite happily engaged with working on PLC-owned vehicles, attracting funding supported by WSRA and working within various premises which have included Minehead, Washford and Williton - all sites managed by different parts of the WSR ‘family’. You never saw any hint of major divisions on account of who owned what - they just got on with it and, IIRC, achieved three vehicle restorations in one year last year! Now I know wagons have a tiny fraction of the emotional appeal of locomotives but even so - look what they achieved just by getting on nicely with everyone and accepting a bit of compromise here and there.

    Come on lads and lasses, sort it out...
     
  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,810
    Likes Received:
    2,473
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Deep South
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Interesting that the wagon group is mentioned. They don't let moss grow beneath their feet. Incidentally you might find that some of the group are also part of 4110 group! They made appeals for financial help recently and were successful in a very short time.
    Now doesn't that tell you something about some parts of the WSR and the volunteers.
    You might find post 15727 by Faol, made earlier today. good reading. ( In case you missed it)
     
  6. lochness8

    lochness8 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    287
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Businessman
    Location:
    Weston super Mare
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Gosh was that post only today?! Seems like an eternity ago in NatPres terms. Yes interesting post by @Faol who did of course, until recently, lead the wagon group. But other than ‘listening to volunteers’, which is quite clearly a Very Good Idea, I wasn’t entirely sure what point he was trying to make with regards to 4110 especially. As a long-standing WSRA member himself, it would be good to know where @Faol sits in the debate - should 4110 Ltd be allowed back into the game and purchase the loco - at the ‘price’ (as some see it) of having what is effectively another privately-owned locomotive on long-term hire to the railway, or is the WSRA ownership model a better way forward?
     
  7. lochness8

    lochness8 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    287
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Businessman
    Location:
    Weston super Mare
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Yes those successful fundraising appeals were run through the WSRA so my point is, if it works for wagons, why not locos? What’s the difference? Other than scale of fundraising required!
     
  8. jnc

    jnc Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    845
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I wonder what will happen if the WSRA in fact cannot raise the funds in time? (I'm trying hard not to speculate here, merely pointing out a list of questions.) Will they make up the difference from other money already on hand? (And have they already considered what to do if they can't raise the money?)

    If they don't have the money, and the sale to them then falls through, will (as you observed) the PLC in fact sell to the 4110 group? The PLC would apparently be faced with the choice between maximizing the funds raised by selling the loco, and keeping it on the line (a choice they have already faced, of course; but a different entity might prompt a different anwer); which way will they go? (And have they likewise already considered this possibility?)

    And what will the 4110 group actually do once they have the engine, if it is sold to them? (I know there's speculation they'll be able to raise the funds for the restoration, but until it happens...Their original letter did describe 3 possible outcomes; which one will happen? Or yet another?) It will take some time for the answer to this to appear, I would think? (BTW, that estimated price for the restoration - does anyone know if that figure assumes all volunteer labour, no volunteer labour, what?)


    It will be very interesting to see how this play out. I don't envy any of the principals.

    Noel
     
  9. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    9,781
    Likes Received:
    13,551
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I wrote these notes yesterday evening on the 17:57 from Paddington, speeding home to the west country at the end of a long weekend assisting one of our other heritage railways. Distance can lend perspective and I have to admit that I have found some of the comments above about the position with 4110, particularly from some of those who post from behind aliases, to be shockingly abusive and unpleasant.

    As it was my initiative for the WSRA to re-engage with the ‘4110 Ltd’ group immediately after Christmas (after Mike Sherwood’s earlier discussions with them), I thought some remarks from me might serve to debunk the wilder speculation.

    Initially, the WSRA’s thinking was that we could assist by holding shares on behalf of donors who would prefer a 25% gift aid uplift to their contribution to holding shares themselves and would be comfortable with the WSRA taking a (hopefully significant) shareholding in the locomotive. However, it became apparent that 4110 Ltd only had tenuous arrangements with the WSR plc and the WSRA prompted the group to talk to the WSR plc to make more definite arrangements.

    The WSR plc then decided that they were not comfortable selling the locomotive to 4110 Ltd and, in that circumstance, the WSRA was happy to step in to provide a route by which the locomotive could be retained on the WSR and the WSR plc’s financial objectives could be met. We attempted to discuss this with 4110 Ltd but for reasons which are not entirely clear to me, for some members of 4110 Ltd, ‘control’ appeared to be more important than saving the locomotive for the line.

    I first volunteered on the WSR in 1979 and have seen the Railway through fat and fallow times. Regrettably, the last ten years have seen some very poor decision making, infighting between organisations who should have co-operated, and a period in which professional business and railway skills have not been valued. Fortunately, we now have a WSR plc Chairman determined (and starting) to build a cohesive, competent team. The WSRA is now led by those at the forefront of the process to remove past troublemakers and determined to build for the future. The WSRA does not yet make the contribution to the life of the WSR it should and can but, rest assured, we Trustees are working hard to move it in the right direction. The problems faced by the whole Railway are significant and inter-connected. Some will be difficult to solve and there are certainly a good few sacred cows still to shoot.

    Rome cannot be re-built in a day. The present WSR plc Chairman is tackling the (many and varied) problems in a sensible sequence but is trying to make up for the last 10 years or so. That will inevitably mean that policy will have to be made quickly on occasion and communication will not be as easy as it would have been had we had 10 years of steady progress. But he is giving it 110% and he deserves our support. He has mine.

    Back to 4110. It might be thought regrettable that the policy of concentrating on a core of locomotives owned by the WSR plc / WSRA had not been made some time ago. I agree. But it was not. It is a sensible approach which, in time, will lead to a core stable of ‘West Somerset Railway’ locomotives. Creation of that ‘core stable’ will not be helped by the creation of another owning group. I hope that stable will include 4160 when the controlling ‘Association Shares’ are back in the hands of the Association and, of course, 4110.

    I would urge those wondering whether to help save 4110 for the WSR to stop wondering and to donate. Suitable locomotives do not grow on trees.

    Robin Moira White
     
  10. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2014
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    634
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Swindon
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If the WSRA could go for 'alternative' funding why haven't they done so already and why is the Restoration of 4561 taking so long?

    So where would that put 4110 in the queue?

    The 4110 group would at the very least have a definitive focus.
     
    tracker, Ferguson, michaelh and 2 others like this.
  11. lochness8

    lochness8 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    287
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Businessman
    Location:
    Weston super Mare
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The same might be asked of 9351 and 44422. Both long-term WSR locos in the ‘core’ stable which have been sat at Minehead out of service for longer than expected, responsibility of the same team now seemingly focussing their efforts on trying to save 4110. Perhaps taking longer to finish locomotive restorations than had been hoped is not unique to the WSRA & perhaps their are other factors we need to be sympathetic to. Those in glass houses should be careful when throwing stones.
     
    Paul42 and Bean-counter like this.
  12. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    9,781
    Likes Received:
    13,551
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I am not going to enter into a debate but there are couple of truths to understand.

    1. The WSR plc have decided that they do not wish to sell 4110 to '4110 Ltd'. If it is not sold to the WSRA it will be sold to an external bidder who is 'waiting in the wings' and it will be lost to the Railway.

    2. The WSR's new CME, Bob Meanley, is developing a locomotive strategy for the Railway as a whole, which is where the 'core locomotive' principle comes from. That strategy will determine the order of the restoration queue - which is exactly as it should be. Thank goodness.

    Robin
     
  13. Dennis John Brooks

    Dennis John Brooks Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    850
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If 4110ltd are not successful in the purchase I would rather see it go to an outside organisation where it will get restored rather than sit in the WSRA scrapyard.

    DJB.
     
  14. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    1,848
    Thank you, Robin, for casting a bit more light on how the various groups' positions evolved over the last few weeks. It seems that there was somewhat better communication between the PLC, the WSRA and the nascent 4110 Ltd than had seemed from what had been posted here until today. However it does not remove the fact that there has been yet another squabble between parts of the WSR family, despite all of them surely having the success of the WSR at heart.

    Several of us here have been critical of the goings-on, but surely few if any of us are "anti WSR". Rather, we depair at the repeated instances of the "one railway" aspiration falling short in practice.

    It has only gradually emerged that the PLC has been desperately short of cash for some time. We still don't know whether that fact, and conflicting ideas of what to do about it, were responsible for the Board musical chairs, but it seems likely. Then at last the Board reaches agreement (possibly reluctantly) that selling some of the family silver will help. It sets a price (?) or maybe invites offers. Someone (P&D?) makes an offer. A group of volunteers, wishing 4110 to stay on the WSR, hatches a scheme and, within an amazingly short period, receives pledges of sufficient cash. Meanwhile the PLC decides that it would prefer to sell the loco to the WSRA (which for some time has not been providing much solid support for the WSR in general or 4110 in particular). Crucially, the PLC also decides that, if sale to the WSRA doesn't work out, it would prefer 4110 to depart rather than be sold to some of the WSR's own volunteers and supporters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  15. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    9,490
    Likes Received:
    6,285
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There is a lot of “what” in those observations, but little “why”. Yet it is “why” that is critical to understanding whether this is yet another round of internecine squabbling on the WSR, or whether the plc are acting in the best interests of 4110’s restoration prospects.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  16. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    5,671
    Likes Received:
    7,316
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chartered Certified Accountant
    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Could you point out which locos form the WSRA scrapyard?

    As I understand, 4561 is one of (too) many locos in the UK undergoing protracted and at times (i.e. currently, apparently, awaiting funding) stalled overhauls. 7821 is currently in secure and dry storage and display at Swindon. Which 'scrapyard' locos do they own?

    Is your dislike of the WSRA greater than your desire to see 4110 remain on the West Somerset Railway?

    Steven
     
  17. stephenvane

    stephenvane Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    398
    Is there any chance the WSRA might sell 4561 to fund the purchase of 4110?

    After all they were in negotiations last year to swap 4561 for a more powerful loco (3803).
     
  18. patriarch

    patriarch New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    187
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Stourton, Stourbridge
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Personally, my desire to see 4110 restored within my lifetime, is greater than my desire to see the WSRA gain ownership and for it to join the other inoperable locomotives in their 'care'.
     
    tracker, Ferguson and Triumph 2500S like this.
  19. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    9,490
    Likes Received:
    6,285
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    And why do you believe that this cannot be achieved under the WSRA umbrella, but can be achieved outside it?
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    16,142
    Likes Received:
    23,215
    Location:
    21C102
    I don't think people are thinking laterally enough about this. It doesn't take much imagination to devise a solution in which the £120k seemingly available can have Gift Aid recovered to boost its value; be used to further progress actual loco restoration (rather than just circulating without adding any value to the greater WSR); ensure the continued ownership of 4110 within the WSR family; create no new organisations with all the admin overhead and cost that that entails; and give a cash boost to the plc to help alleviate any immediate cash flow concerns. Which seems to solve both the immediate issues - retaining the loco on the WSR and providing a boost to plc finances - while also helping actually progress restoration using the available money.

    Whereas everything being discussed at the moment is just an argument about how to spend new money so that a loco currently on the railway can remain there, no closer to being overhauled.

    Tom
     
    johnofwessex, jnc, Steve and 3 others like this.

Share This Page