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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

    Originally "Crowcombe Heathfield" when first opened, the "Heathfield" was dropped to avoid confusion with the GWR's "Heathfield" in Devon. When WSR re-opened the station for traffic almost 40 years ago it was plain old "Crowcombe" - hence some of us oldies still use the "CE" abbreviation rather than the later "CH" now used after the "Heathfield" was re-instated, I think, upon the line's 125th anniversary. My thanks to the various WSR historians over the years, messrs Clinker, van den Arend, Stanistreet, Cubitt, Coleby et al)

    Steve
     
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  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    What about either/or.............

    1. The opportunity to by shares in a 'payment plan' I dont know what you have to buy to get free travel but buying them at - say £5 or £10 a month by direct debit might be a nice little earner?
    2. While its there I think if you look, an option to make regular payments by direct debit to the WSRA similar to that offered by many charities, starting I suggest at the lowest sensible amount say ££ pam?
     
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I presume you would like to see a few more 'then and nows'?

    They come in four flavours, really, depending on the 'then'. These are either heyday(up to 50's), rundown (60's) derelict (closure period) or early preservation. I have a stock of each.

    Different lessons can be drawn from each and a variety of eyes looking at them often produce interesting observations. I might stick with 'derelict' for the next few.

    Watch this space.

    Robin
     
  3. Ferguson

    Ferguson New Member

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  4. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    The solution to the WSR's financial woes is simple, although identifying and implementing it may be less straightforward; work out why passenger numbers have been falling and reverse whatever has caused it without increasing the cost of running the railway. A drop of 40,000/year, as has been reported, is probably worth a million or so.
     
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  5. Wenlock

    Wenlock Member Friend

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    If there has been sufficient shortfall over the years to build up a backlog of infrastructure work, then regaining lost passengers is unlikely to be sufficient.

    It suggests the budgets over the years were insufficient even when the ridership was higher than it is now.

    It has been stated many times on other threads than this, that many/most heritage/preserved railways have been "living on borrowed time" with regards to infrastructure renewals.

    Railways which had realised this long ago have not been developing in other ways as quickly as railways which were happy to use what they had and not worry about renewals. Track and bridge repairs and renewals have always been expensive, even with the savings made by using volunteer labour.

    I feel that one could perhaps draw a comparison with the way in which some lines have been happy to use land rented/leased from others (often a local authority), whereas other lines have concentrated their funding on buying their freehold. If you own your freehold, it gives greater financial security long term, whereas paying only a "peppercorn rent" allows faster development with less security.
     
  6. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    There is already the facility to do this. Last time I looked you had to own £3,000 of shares to get free travel.
     
  7. LC2

    LC2 Member

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  8. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Not quite - I get two free trips, if I use them, and have only £200 of shares.
     
  9. 854tiger

    854tiger New Member

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    Not sure about the WSRA, but a ‘payment by standing order’ option for the PLC is already in place. Minimum amount £10 per month.
     
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  10. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    The WSR official web site does ask for and welcome donations. Maybe that is where any donations are best sent. At least the PLC needs it, it seems, and probably achieves more to assist in the lines survival that any donations made to other organisations on the line who are not able to give instant support, have limitations or other causes to pay for.
     
  11. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Having had a look, buying £100 worth of shares looks like a very good deal...............
     
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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  13. lostlogin

    lostlogin New Member

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    I don't want to derail this thread but I think that is a bit unfair on the Talyllyn as it is a model railways operate. The TR are possible just a bit more open than most about it in that they state the "loss" is covered by the society. If they wanted to I am sure they could simply describe that they are making a grant to some project or other and have it treated as income by the railway in which case and there would be little comment.

    Look at most of the railways we support and you will probably find donations or subscriptions from supporters groups. Sometimes they are dressed as share offers but essentially they are little more than donations. They also own their locos and rolling stock so costs go through the books, whereby many railways have owner groups who fund raise etc so in effect keeping those costs and donations away from the main operating company.

    Back on thread, I think, the WSR advertises itself as the longest heritage railway in the UK. I don't know why the losses have arisen but does there reach a point where the maintenance costs of a long line outweigh the additional income as most of the public have a rough expectations of the amount they want to spend in both £ and time so whether you run a 10 mile line or 20 mile line the increase in income pretty marginal.
     
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  14. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    At Swanage, the company is the trading arm of the trust. The trust lends the company money over the low period which is paid back over the summer. Any surplus I would imagine is gift aided? to the trust.
     
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  15. HerstonHalt

    HerstonHalt New Member

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    The narative is an interesting look back, particularly as it mentions the Bagnall tanks and the Hymek.
    I remember the re-opening special on the Saturday evening which was double headed with Vulcan and D7017. After a lively start from BL,the Hymek failed on the climb to Crowcombe and after attempts to get it going came to nought, it was eventually pushed dead on the front of the train all the way back to Minehead. It was a very late finish!

    Sent from my SM-A300FU using Tapatalk
     
  16. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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  17. jma1009

    jma1009 Member

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    I recall Donald Heath, long time TRPS Treasurer, years ago, describing to me how the TRPS worked and it was quite an insight. The TRPS would 'bank roll' the Talyllyn Railway Co. generally, but in the winter, Pat Garland, a previous TRPS Treasurer, would ensure sufficient well healed TRPS members could be called upon to cover the losses in the non operating winter period via short term private loans, that I don't recall ever appeared in the accounts.

    I suspect the Ffestiniog Railway had a similar arrangement, despite a legal set up that is probably more akin to the WSR PLC /WSRA dysfunctional model.

    I don't have a solution to the WSR PLC's problems.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  18. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    West Somerset Railway - Then and Now.

    Blue Anchor booking office. The dark side.

    But which photo is from the 1950’s and which from 2018?

    Robin

    7186A247-A434-49BE-9E31-99AFAB42985D.jpeg 7964F50B-BEC7-43F6-AD68-DD10D313D1B1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  19. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    Am interesting pair 'then & now' photos. The top one is 2018, the bottom one 1950's. The picture quality of the top photo gives the game away, even if you ignore the card reader and wall mounted phone.
     

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