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GWSR Broadway Developments

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Breva, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed - the comment was highlighted to me by a rather demoralised long standing GWSR volunteer who has many years of experience on several railways.
    The comparison is of course wildly inaccurate not least because the two operations are very different with one having annual sales of £1m & the other £5m.

    It simply didn't need saying and smacks of rather distasteful mischief making.

    The damage is done.
     
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  2. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 New Member

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    Appears to be a statement of the facts, so what is the problem?
     
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  3. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    "Facts" - well worthy of D Trump esq maybe! Will not post further on this. Await the apology in the next mag.
     
  4. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    Taken from the 2015 statement of accounts (made up to 3rd January 2016) submitted by SVR(Holdings) PLC to Companies House, the average monthly number of employees was recorded as 186. This figure being made up of 70 full-time, 58 part-time and 58 casual staff. These figures may well have increased during the last financial year.

    For comparison, the figures in the 2014 accounts are stated as 70 full-time, 45 part-time, and 63 casual employees giving an average monthly total for the year of 178.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  5. Andy B

    Andy B Member

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    Although it could be read as arrogant I believe Chris is highlighting the fact that the railway have achieved these results with only 5 paid staff and we should all be proud of the achievements. Any inference that the svr is wrong in the way they do things is not intended. I personally think that the number of paid staff will inevitably have to rise, but like many people, unless we get to a £5M annual turnover hope we won't need to pay hundreds of people to achieve it. In another report in the mag, the commercial director reports that 2017 could see sales of £2M with a suspicion (using data from other railways) that we could see a 20% in passenger numbers for 2018 with opening of broadway. Its unfortunate that both the Gwsr and the Svr both have share issues running concurrently because undoubtedly they have taken money from each other.
     
  6. Poolbrook

    Poolbrook New Member Friend

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    Andy - thanks for these facts. They make it hard to understand the umbrage which has been taken but I won't get involved in someone else's angst which must surely have some deeper background.
     
  7. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    The accounts information, containing the number of persons employed by the company, is freely available on the Companies House (Beta) website. It is an interesting exercise to compare the numbers employed by the various heritage railway companies.

    I suspect that it sometimes comes as a surprise to volunteers on some of the larger railways, when they find out how many people are paid.
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think it is very difficult to compare staffing levels between railways in a meaningful way taken in isolation, because before doing so, you would also have to know how much specialist work was contracted out. For example, one railway may restore a locomotive using its own paid staff; another may restore it in their own premises but buy in contractors to do some of the work; another may send it away to an external workshop for repair. All are valid ways of running things and may suit different railways, but saying, in isolation, "railway X has n staff and railway Y has m staff" gives a somewhat misleading picture.

    Tom
     
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  9. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Which is a service that the SVR provides, using paid staff.
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, exactly the point - which makes a straight comparison on staffing numbers without understanding the individual circumstances fraught with difficulty.

    Tom
     
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  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I wouldn't disagree, and there are definitely a number of important differences between us and the SVR! However, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved and the service we run with volunteers, and that's all that was being got at.
     
  12. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    The issue isn't the number of staff on line A and line B respectively - it is more a case of "what is the business model for lines A and B?". Whether 5 or 186 staff are employed the bottom line is just that - is there a surplus, and is enough money being generated for the future regarding capital investment (loco overhauls, improvements etc).

    The number of staff employed is simply a part of how the respective railways arrive at the final outputs. Yes the GWSR figures quoted are an impressive stat - but in the future the reality is that they may well have to employ more staff as expansion continues. In this day and age some required roles are very demanding - e.g. responsible officer for boilers- it is becoming less and less realistic for volunteers to fulfill such a role in a "spare time" capacity.

    Regards

    Matt
     
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  13. jtx

    jtx Member

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    And so you should be.

    Both our railways started the same way, with a group of idealistic, committed and hard - working, volunteers. We, (the SVR), have been at it a bit longer, and have grown with what we had, and what we have made.

    You are still growing, likewise.

    Andy Williams, (who has been on the Valley, since Noah was training as a shipwright), has given exact figures, but the broad - brush picture is that paid staff are in engineering, infrastructure, admin, sales, etc, whilst operations; footplate, guards, signalmen, are run exclusively by volunteers. (Paid staff fill in in emergencies, as necessary.)

    A large amount of restoration and maintenance, across all disciplines, is also performed by volunteers.

    Without volunteer input, the Railway would shut tomorrow.

    The current state of affairs did not just happen; it grew organically, over 50 years: as will yours.

    I do not claim to speak for the SVR, but I know that the volunteers to whom I talk, wish you well, and I am sure those views are widespread.

    A number of you stepped up for us in 2007, after The Flood, financially, and physically, and I know we reciprocated when you had your own infrastructure troubles.

    Long may that spirit continue.

    All the best,

    jtx
     
  14. Kinghambranch

    Kinghambranch Well-Known Member

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    The latest extension blog covers trackbed preparation and ballasting recommencing on the final stretch to Broadway as well as ballasting on the newly altered track layout just south of Winchcombe. Most excellent!

    http://broadwayextensionblog.blogspot.co.uk/
     
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  15. 46229

    46229 New Member

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    I don't think the comment referred to above is mischief making, it does however reflect a certain naivety around parts of the GWR that it can somehow run a 14 mile long railway without an increase in paid staff. That the GWR has discovered some sort of 'silver bullet' that no other railway of similar size has managed to do is naive IMO. jtx sums it up very well - "the broad - brush picture is that paid staff are in engineering, infrastructure, admin, sales, etc". To that, I would add competence management and compliance. The fact is that a successful heritage railway in 2017 is like an iceberg - a much larger (and increasing) amount of work is required behind scenes to support its operations - much of it of substantial responsibility. It is simply unsustainable to ask volunteers to continue to manage that amount of work, most of which takes place in at home in front of a computer. You need things like a centralised records and IS system, data management etc. It all takes money and people to look after it.
    Things changed substantially for heritage railways in 2006 when ROGS hit the statute book and brought the standards required up to the same level as the mainline railway. Areas like safety management, risk assessments and, the big one, management of safety critical staff. I know of several volunteers in responsible positions on the railway for whom this sort of workload has turned it into almost a full time job and for whom it is no longer enjoyable. Others have no desire to take it on. It is not 1986 or even 1996 any more.
    I don't see any problem with paid staff and volunteers working side by side as per the SVR - it will free up the volunteer to do more of what they enjoy and what they are good at. Even the Bodmin and Wenford employ 17 people according to last year's accounts.
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think most volunteers accept that we might need a couple more paid staff once we get to Broadway, however I think the general view is that Broadway really is the limit to what we can do with our current volunteer model, but that we *can* do it.

    Worth noting that our boiler responsible person is a volunteer, as is the chap in C+W who looks after all the gas and pressure systems both in our workshops and on the coaches, both of whom I have no reason not to believe will be volunteering for some years to come yet!

    As some folk have mentioned, we do use contractors for various things though, most of the embankment work and some of the trackbed and lineside clearance was done by contractors on the Broadway extension, most boilers are sent to Tyelsey, and of course our cafe at Toddington is franchised. All other catering is done by volunteers though. In C+W the only thing we use contractors for are wheel turning and asbestos removal, all other bogie work and all metal work we can do in house with volunteers, which again we're very proud of.
     
  17. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's very worthy - but it will be interesting whether you can still get by on volunteer resources if the daily demand for carriages rises by about 50% with the longer line; and the daily mileages also rise (which mean less time between routine mileage-based maintenance). I'm sure the powers that be have worked out the extra maintenance demands of lengthening the line, but that will probably translate directly to one of (1) more volunteers needed, not least in maintenance roles, who will probably need training; (2) paid staff needed for the first time; (3) more work contracted out or (4) some combination of all those options.

    Tom
     
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  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Interestingly Tom, to an extent carriage maintenance may become easier in the coming years rather than harder, although I'd still agree that it's a likely area for paid staff in the future. I say this because once we get to Broadway, there will be some days, mostly weekends, where there are 3 sets in use but during the week there will mostly be 2. The idea is within the next few years to be in a position where "all sets are equal" so they can be swapped out and we can have one set in the siding at Winchcombe to do more leisurely maintenance, rather than the current situation the gang have during the summer where they only have a day to do maintenance on 2 sets whilst the spare set sits in Winchcombe unused throughout.
     
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  19. collet1930

    collet1930 New Member

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    Not sure weather to believe the railway press or the notes from the boardroom about how much the Broadway embankment repair is going to cost.The board say a 6 figure amount and the press report a 5 figure amount.Can any one clear this up. And as an aside do we know roughly
    how long a rail journey will be from Broadway to Cheltenham. Thanks.
     
  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Very much a 6 figure sum! I've heard a couple of different numbers but they're all around the £3-400k mark.
     

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