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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    I would hope that would be done as a matter of course. It would in any normal business activity!
     
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  2. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    and the alternative is?
     
  3. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Funny how we seem to have forgotten about 4110!

    Is it Staying or Leaving the WSR
     
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  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely, comparing staff numbers with GWSR is definitely not fair when it comes to the engineering side of things because we have a different model of doing things. However, there's probably some scope for comparison elsewhere. Our commercial/marketing department was until last year completely volunteer run. We now have one paid part time member of staff who's principle role is to help co-ordinate special events (each special event has its own volunteer organiser) but no doubt helps in other ways too.

    We do have a full time operational manager and have done for some years now. I think one of our paid admin staff does some HR stuff but other than that that is all volunteer run as well. As with many of our key volunteer posts, we are lucky in having retired people who are happy to continue their profession for free for the railway.
     
  5. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    I see no valid reason why the dear old thing shouldn't stay on the WSR. The original Group had the foresight and expertise to launch their appeal which succeeded in a very short time. Whilst it was in the form of a pledge it seems unlikely that those, pledging a reasonable sum of money, would hardly default. So money is there.
    I also believe that the Group would have been equally successful in raising cash to restore 4110 to operational use in a relatively short time (as far as loco restoration goes).
     
  6. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    But look at how successful the GWR is and as I understand it does not even have an Overdraft despite the amazing amount of money expended in the last few years!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  7. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Yes but has the WSRA raised or got the means to raise the money to it buy since the original option seems to have scuppered by the plc?
     
  8. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    If the PLC need the cash they, presumably, have to go to those who have it.
     
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  9. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    I think one alternative would be to go into the ‘battle’ with some real leaders and a truly motivated army. I spend a considerable amount of time on and around the WSR and know many staff, both salaried and unpaid. I have, over the last 12 months or so, become increasingly concerned that many of them seem to be unhappy, in fear or simply not motivated.

    It’s only my opinion, but the recent fiasco regarding 4110 sums up my feelings. Remember, these are employees, paid or volunteer, who simply wanted to do best for the Railway. With (a little) encouragement from their employers, they worked their butts off to raise a considerable sum of money pledged. Their reward? Not a “thank you, well done”, more like a kick in the teeth. Cor, I bet they really feel motivated now.

    It reminds me of a time when I was employed by a very large retailer in Cornwall which operates numerous outlets, many of them run by managers. A new retail director was appointed and during his first meeting with middle management, he announced “I plan to sack a manager every month. That’ll keep the rest of them on their toes”.

    I think that the staff meeting on 2nd February could be an opportunity for the Chairman and Directors to ‘rally the troops’ ready for the new season. I’m not going to hold my breath.

    Stef.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I don't think that you can compare any two heritage railways in terms of the number of people they employ, especially where there are also volunteers involved. I believe that the NYMR employs around 140 people if you include seasonal staff. On that basis, if you relate it simply to turnover and comparing with the GWSR, the NYMR should be in dire straits. It isn't. There are lots of things to take into account. One significant one is the NYMR's decision to target ownership of locos and do overhauls in-house rather than hire in, needing to employ a significant number of staff to do so. The GWSR has a diametrically opposite approach.
    Another factor governing staff numbers is the ability and willingness of a volunteer to undertake tasks, both large and small. On one railway you may get people willing to clean toilets as volunteers, on another you will have to pay or employ. I do a specific job as a volunteer which would almost certainly warrant having to employ someone if I didn't, purely on the number of hours I put in.
    I seem to recall Paul Lewin once saying that a railway that spends more than 25% of its turnover on staff costs is spending too much. That's not a bad benchmark, IMHO. (Even though the NYMR spends far more!) I don't know how the WSR compares with that.
     
  11. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.
    - Voltaire, on the death of Admiral Byng
     
  12. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    The ability of the GWSR to get to its current scale of operations with very few paid staff and a few contractors is a considerable achievement but it must be remembered that pretty well every other heritage line also started in this way, the differences perhaps being just how far each line got or for how many years was it able to operate, before a core of paid staff became an absolute necessity. It is unlikely that in the medium term the GWSR will prove to be any different. After all there is a very limited core of folk who are able and prepared to put their railway literally before anything else as some key positions require.

    If we are looking for comparisons those are probably better made with railways which have operated since the early 1970's where the initial band of volunteers is long gone and the railway operation has reached maturity. Comparing numbers of paid staff can be misleading as catering, workshops, allied museums may or may not be included on a particular railway and paid jobs may be full time or simply a few paid hours occasionally.
     
  13. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    What strikes me is that none of these armchair critics seem to have any first hand knowledge of the actual current WSR PLC accounts or probably the personnel involved. When challenged one even said he did not understand company accounts! It is all speculation and ill will. -Also note that most are not volunteers. This makes their credibility around zero. More for the ignore list,
     
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  14. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely, which is why you can't really compare number of engineering staff because we send quite a lot of stuff away. Carriage and Wagon is probably a fair area to compare though; we do everything in house except tyre turning with no paid staff whatsoever, and our overhauls are pretty comprehensive and have been for a good number of years now. We have one Ex-BR chap who looks after a lot of the bogie stuff and lives fairly near by but other than that I don't think we've actually got any other ex-railway staff. We have a couple of ex-professional welders/metal workers as well. I think it can be said that with almost 150,000 passengers carried over 15 miles of railway it can be said that we've reached maturity, and I think that whilst we are of course going to have to hire more staff in future, I think we can reasonably expect to remain notable for our lack of paid staff considering our operation.
     
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  15. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    Based on your own criteria, does that not make your credibility around zero since you have indicated that you are not a volunteer?

    Keith
     
  16. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    Shortly after the (veiled) threat was issued to the staff, I resigned my post, so I do not know if any staff were executed.

    Stef.
     
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  17. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    Probably the judgement of people here and their posts by Yorkshireman is probably subjective. He has and his latest posts suggests there will be more, people on ignore.
    That is rather like reading a book that has pages missing - particularly the more important ones. ;)
     
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  18. SouthWestMainline

    SouthWestMainline New Member

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    You forgot the bit about an arm chair too...:)
     
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  19. Ron Sidewater

    Ron Sidewater Member

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    I agree with everything in this posting except the word 'informed' - amongst all the verbiage posted here informed comment is what is distinctly lacking!
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think that this is the finest case of the pot calling the kettle black that I have seen on here. Armchair critic; not a volunteer and as for understanding company accounts, who was it that suggested the need to employ another manager (PR) just a few posts ago?
     

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