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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Fat Fingers time, deleted.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    As an ex-Bluebell Trustee, the simplicity of their structure, rather like that of K&ESR where I am now a Trustee / Director, is a significant part of the answer and facilitator of clarity of purpose.

    We, in Somerset, have much to learn.

    Robin
     
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  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Just to clarify / expand slightly on @Maunsell907's comment, specifially around the differences in our structure (alluded to by @Robin Moira White) that allow that level of support from the membership body.

    Firstly, in our structure, the membership body (the BRPS) is not a charity. That makes the direct revenue support of the PLC rather simpler than if it were. The mechanism of that support is, as outlined above, by periodic loans from the membership body to the company. These appear as debts on the company balance sheet; from time to time they are converted to shares. The extent of that support is roughly low six figures per year; the £500,000 conversion represents I think about three years worth of such loans. The source of the BRPS income, incidentally, is primarily member subscriptions; with no significant operational costs, almost the entirety of that money becomes available to loan to the plc.

    Secondly, the BRPS rules require that it holds a majority shareholding in the company. After the latest share conversion, the current BRPS shareholding is 82% of the company, which gives in effect complete control.
    Before the "single entity" police jump down on you, I think the key to our structure is not that it is inherently simple, but that there is absolute clarity and separation of purpose between the different entities. It is a tri-partite structure:
    • the BRPS (membership body) sets out policy for the whole railway in the form of the Long Term Plan, which is a summation of the member wishes, agreed periodically at BRPS AGMs;
    • the PLC operates the railway so as to deliver as best it can that policy within the constraints set by available funding and the regulatory / safety environment;
    • the Trust (charity) provides funding, within its own charitable objectives.
    The different bodies don't have roles outside those functions; for example, the membership body does not have any direct operational role on the railway (in terms of running trains, shops, cafes, workshops etc). Even volunteering is seen as a privilege conferred by membership of the BRPS, but volunteers are subject to the company (PLC) rules by virtue of the company being the statutory operator with regard the SMS etc; and volunteers therefore effectively work for the company, not the society.

    See https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/trust/trust_regulations_mar18.pdf
    Tom
     
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  4. jnc

    jnc Member

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    Half that much would give 'effective control'; 82% gives 'jump/how high' control! :)

    Noel
     
  5. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Well-Known Member

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    Tom

    That's an interesting way of doing it, putting aside the day to day operational issues which I assume are well sorted, does this mean because Bluebell stick to the 'one charity' principle, external funding is still achievable with more than two 'funding raising' groups overall ? I'm assuming because the BRPS in effect fund raises from non charity sources in the main does this mean the Trust get a clear run at those larger amounts (meaning larger funders who will only fund a charity) whilst the BRPS can focus on members and other fund raising. If so, I assume the BRPS look after legacies and fund raising from shareholders and members as well as subscriptions as they seem to fit better close to members activities ?

    If you don't mind me asking is there any big downside to doing it this way you have seen ?

    Sorry for lots of questions but it looks like another way that could work as it seems to satisfy the large funders requirements as well as just one PLC & one charity/members association/fund raiser . I ask this as I'm now involved with something else not related to a Railway in Somerset which a Community Engagement Group asked me to help with which this could be an answer for.
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Just worth noting that it may make it simpler, but charitable status isn't in itself a barrier. The GWRT tends to grant a significant 6 figure sum to the GWSR Plc each year.
     
  7. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Here we go! Even though the Bluebell is less complicated it is still too b****y complicated,
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Seems to work for them though, which is what's important; equally importantly it's *not* working on the WSR!
     
  9. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    When a guest loco comes to the WSR for a gala, does it come with driver or crew from WSR
     
  10. Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic New Member

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    My God is this allowed a post about actual trains not politics :eek:

    And to answer a bit of your question when 37248 is out and about when I've seen it its driven by a growler group member, or at least in the cab
     
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  11. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    With Diesel Loco's drivers are generaly passed out for each class of loco, unlike steam, so unless the WSR has a driver passed for 37's a qualified Growler Group may be needed.

    But it varies from loco to loco, some insist on their own drivers, such as the DVR Standard 4, and only 'passed' drivers were allowed to work Blue Peter, while I gather that other loco's are handed over to the railway to crew.
     
  12. robinguarddriver

    robinguarddriver New Member

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    For Diesels
    They all will have a WSR conductor driver in the cab as well as either a owner, or owners representive who is passed to drive the class of loco on its home line.
    This is because for Diesels you have to be qualified/ passed on each separate class of loco.
    Robin F
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    No, that's not quite it, but I'll PM you because it seems people are bored with the discussion in public.

    Tom
     
  14. The_Rail_WAy

    The_Rail_WAy New Member

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    Thanks for that.
     
  15. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Member

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    I'm not sure where "politics" comes into it, unless you use the word in the very loosest of meanings. The WSR is facing funding and maintenance problems and members and supporters on here are discussing potential answers. If you are a supporter of this railway you should be glad of all the input you can get, particularly as some of it is offered by very experienced people from other lines.
    Your personal interests may be more on the engineering or physical preservation side but without finance and good management none of this will exist. If you think management and administration is "politics" that is your choice, but there is no reason to sneer at those who wish to discuss these matters.
     
  16. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    No moaners please!
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    The problem is most of the people on here have no actual position on the WSR and are in no position to change it. However good a suggestion may be it is of no consequence. It is alll hypothetical and pointless. Those currently in charge show no sign of being interested in any view but their own. Very sad but I think nothing sort of a revolution will change things. That is why I will not give a penny more to,support the line.
     
  17. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Sadly, Yorkshireman's views seem to be held by many who are or were once WSR supporters. I believe the spectacular and swift fight to try to keep 4110 on the line, by a very small group, and the huge donations made, in a very short time, to the recent model railway appeal emphasize that.
     
  18. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    What will 7752 be hauling on the steam engine man course today please. May have to photograph it if the wife lets me
     
  19. Across the Severn

    Across the Severn New Member

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    Day 2 of Level one ? An empty passenger train from Minehead to Blue Anchor and return several times.
     
  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    A number of things have 'not been working' on the WSR for a while. That much is obvious.

    But I suppose the perspective of a 40-year volunteer, remembering the weed strewn Railway, running a DMU or a Bagnall and 3 or four coaches at very long intervals (when you were lucky) calling at unmanned stations, lends a certain perspective when looking at the present WSR.

    There are number of things to solve with the present WSR, some of them structural, some of them cultural, and some of them individual, but best to have my sleeves rolled up working on them. Some organisational learning, simplification, and round pegs in round holes are needed.

    Folk may have worked out by now that there are number of core supporters who don't give up and don't go away. What the rest of you do is, of course, your choice!

    Robin
     

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