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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Brilliant, double head manor with load 14
     
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  2. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    That approach is generally not considered good practice, or likely to encourage a healthy working environment. And where paid staff are concerned, it has a nasty habit of incurring legal costs.

    I don’t know where the truth lies, or why things have happened as they have. But I do observe that one sided grievances tend not to be as rationally expressed as they have been by @Andy Norman.

    However, times change and strategies change. The WSR has adopted a particular strategy; it must be given time to work even if kept under close scrutiny as well.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  3. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree. There are policies and processes in place to discipline and remove if needed both paid and volunteer staff, I actually think that the WSR HR Policies are (or were as they were removed for 're-write' after the event) very good, clear, fair and comprehensive. They are also up to date with the WSR HR Policy 'Number 14 Disciplinary Procedure' having been revised on 12/4/2017 so were also modern and relevant.

    So the question to ask perhaps is: Did the WSR PLC Management remove me after having placed me in any WSR HR disciplinary process and was due process followed? However if I was never placed in any process and just removed: Is that good governance ? and if the people who write the rules think they they only apply to others does that allow a free for all ? and who holds the management to account when they don't follow their own rules ? Again this is not about me, I'm only the (not unique) example perhaps.

    As for the WSRA, maybe the question is why did they not support me as a person doing their bidding and as a Member of the WSRA who are after all the members support organisation, and why did the Chairman state in writing to me that nobody was going to listen to my complaint and to stop copying in both the WSSRT & the HRA to my concerns and request for support from them as they would not listen to me ?
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The NYMR's magazine 'Moors Line' landed today and it has some interesting comment that I think is worth mentioning.
    The Trust Chairman suggests that there have been five pivotal decision points in the history of the NYMR, one of which was the pioneering decision to convert the society to a charitable company with a duty to provide public benefit. (Can the WSR possibly do this, I wonder?) The GM has also said that in 2018 both revenue was up and costs have been controlled allowing £240K to be spent on capital projects. This is significant when you consider that some three years ago the railway was in a poor financial state with a significant overdraft. Being a charitable company has enabled the NYMR to apply for grant funding, as mentioned in my previous post but the HLF grant is not all of it. The Overall project to which the HLF (more correctly now the NHLF) has contributed will amount to £10m when finished, made up of NHLF £4.4m, North Yorks Local Enterprise partnership £0.5m, DEFRA £1.7m and legacies and donations of £2.4m, mainly from members. It is also significant that these legacies and donations have not had to be used to prop up the day-to-day business. Those that have added these figures up will realise that there is still a £1m shortfall and funds are still required. However, it shows what can be done with the right organisational structure and the right team at the helm.
    The NYMR has turned itself around and I'm sure that the WSR can. I see a lot of parallels between the two. Real cash shortages and lack of investment followed by new leaders and a lot of blood letting with many of those in post departing the fold to make way for new and generally younger brooms. On that journey it has upset many but it is difficult to argue that it is not working.
     
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  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    And unless I've missed it has managed to do so with far fewer pages devoted to it on NatPres!
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I don't think the WSR had that many pages originally. It was only when certain people started using it as part of their campaign to oust the six that it started to get the following and posters that it did and then, then it was locked, things simply transferred to here.
     
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  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    I do wonder if all this would have been discussed in public in the manner it has if NatPres hadn't originally been the platform by which the 6 were eventually ousted. It let a genie out the bottle that is proving impossible to put back in.
     
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  8. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    This is a great example of what can be achieved and the direction I’ve been talking about within the WSR for a year. The necessary re-structure to get the WSR into a position to enable this type of thing to happen is mapped out. It involves one main properly focused and empowered Charity not two who don’t have the correct remit for large funders, plus some other minor changes and shifting of the power base to align to grant funders needs and requirements.

    This basic structure was set out by the Coombes Review 4 years ago and I’ve had many conversations with funders and community enterprise organisations on the subject of structure and governance in the last year. These conversations have convinced me that the necessary changes with the help from some external experts can get the WSR there and in a reasonably short time frame (months, not years).

    Therefore for the WSR to place itself into a position to allow this to happen is in its own gift and has been for some time. However nothing has moved forward despite much talk, there have been lots of excuses why it can’t happen but it’s just really just people not wanting change.

    However my falling out and departure is in basic terms because the new PLC Chairman wants to take the WSR down the path of a commercial business not a community charitable focused one. To me what you describe with the NYMR looks like a good option as I can’t see how a commercially run operation without grant funding (funders won’t fund commercial business’s) can work without at least an instant doubling of passenger numbers/fares.

    This needs debate and the 1,000 volunteers on the WSR to consider. It’s really now for the people of the WSR to decide which path they wish to take.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  9. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Having already suggested that's the way the WSR needs to go I'm now playing devils advocate. You only have to look across to south Devon to see that a commercial operation can be a success. However, any such commercial set up would have little time for volunteers in operational roles and I suspect that the majority of stations would go. It would need much streamlining and stripping of the unnecessary liabilities to make it viable.
    Not so much the 1000 volunteers as the 1000 (?) shareholders who would have to give up their vested interest in the plc. They are the ones in control of its destiny.
     
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  10. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Like track mileage?
     
  11. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Didn't know that the Romans had firearms with which to shoot messengers or anyone else.

    Peter
     
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  12. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    Think arrows!
     
  13. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    It’s great to play devil’s advocate as it starts debate and gives information for decisions to be made. Yes the railway at Paignton is a model which works, the trains run and holiday makers have a good time also when 75014 came to the WSR I spoke to a number of the staff and they were very nice dedicated people, so all power to them.

    This debate should stretch across all WSR Share and Stake holders to consider the direction of travel from sitting and doing the same old thing (which all agree has to change) to either Community/Charitable or Commercial Model. The decision has been taken by 1 person so is happening now, do all want to allow it to continue to Commercial or change direction?

    Yes you are right there are more than 1,000, its about 1,000 Volunteers as Stakeholders and I’m not sure how many Shareholders and some are of course both, all have a stake in the WSR so all should decide, not me (or the previous FD who was also a great advocate of Community/Charitable and was more knowledgeable on this subject than me) or the current WSR Leadership. Our only job was to serve the WSR and its people. Over to the people of here and the WSR, which do you want? More opinions please.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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  14. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  15. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    When considering the commercial success of the Dartmouth Steam Railway's operation it should be remembered that they operate a steam railway and a river cruise so they have two income streams from two different operations, and you can buy a ticket for either or a combined ticket for both.
    I would also suggest that Paignton is a more popular holiday destination than Minehead.
     
  16. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    Thank you. It is a classic case (no pun intended) of terms changing over centuries. I must admit I have used the phase for as long as I can remember. I always associated it with some brutal Roman Emporers without giving it further thought. oMy perception is, probably wrong again, is that stabbing was a choice way of killing the bearers of bad news. Nevertheless thanks for increasing my knowledge.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    No; Dartmouth is a more popular destination than Minehead. Paignton is a starting point,just like Bishops Lydeard (and Pickering. )
     
  18. Steve B

    Steve B Member

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    And their railway is less than 7 miles long...

    Steve B
     
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  19. Steve B

    Steve B Member

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    Paignton, Torquay, Brixham, Kingswear, Dartmouth, etc are all popular holiday destinations. And the railway is one of the attractions you can go on whilst you stay there. And have a ferry ride across the river as well on the same ticket.

    The WSR is a different railway serving a different sort of area. Comparisons are only useful up to a point - each has to find a way of making things work in a way that suits their circumstances.

    Steve B
     
  20. Herald

    Herald Member

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    Paignton to Dartmouth £18.25 return for 6.7 miles Bishops Lydeard to Minehead £22 day rover for 19.5 miles (apologies if others feel the full length of railway should be used in the comparisons).

    The Dart Valley Railway (Company Number 00852020) latest accounts available at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00852020/filing-history show a lot of data including references to increasing costs and falling passenger numbers. It is relatively easy to see that their business methodology is unlikely to provide a model for the salvation of the WSR. Unfortunately I was unable to find any Tourist Board statistics comparing bed nights or day trips to the respective areas but I think it would be generally accepted that they are in a more promising location to attract the tourist pound.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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