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North Yorkshire Moors Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by The Black Hat, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    It's clear from the stated rationale for the award that the recent structure changes including a nominations committee, the emphasis on wider charitable purposes and determination to encourage visitors from ethnic minorities and communities in the North East have been persuasive. factors behind the decision. It's compelling evidence that the strategy of focussing on those wider charitable purposes, such as lineside conservation, has the fundraising potential that was envisaged. Delivery of the activity outcomes highlighted in the award is entirely consistent with the recently agreed changes and charity centric approach.
     
  2. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    It's one thing to propose all those delivery changes, quite another to achieve them, if they are not to be just a collection of meaningless buzzwords I'm not convinced that the NYMR has the right mindset or people in place to do that. For example, every HLF application form asks the question of what the applicant is doing to attract ethnic minorities. There have been plenty f awards to the NYMR and other railways - can any of them claim true success in meeting those targets. I would suggest, based on my own experiences, that most visitors to heritage railways do not come from ethnic minorities. If they don't come to a tourist railway, what evidence is there that they can be persuaded to visit a less commercial charity?
     
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  3. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Bullsxxt baffles brains but people tell me I'm not that brainy. :(:(
     
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  4. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    It has been obvious all year that some service curtailment was likely and desirable. There are a number of railways that have carried fewer people this year than last. The inflation in coal costs has also been well known. Disastrous though the terrible twosome were for Britain it didn't need their actions to catalyse action from railway managements.
     
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  5. Sidmouth4me

    Sidmouth4me New Member

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    This is about demonstrating a positive change in audience profile. Not just ethnic minorities but also people from a wider age range and social backgrounds, including disabled people and groups of people who have never engaged before.
     
  6. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Other than ethnic minorities, I'd be interested to hear what other groups have not "engaged" before? It would be interesting too, to learn what is actually meant to be achieved , rather than use vague terms such as "audience profile" "engaged" - Travel on the line? Know of its existence? Become active volunteers? Give significant donations? It's a reasonable question to ask, I think - what is actually required? is the first question to the way to delivering an outcome!
     
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  7. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    An appointments committee. Beloved of the charity commission and seen to be best practice. Whilst it does stop some of the worst from becoming trustees (maybe) there is also inherently a grave risk that group think can set in, and that if not properly represented, the volunteers can feel alienated. Neither of these things have been a consistent or significant issue over the growth of heritage railways. In fact it might be argued that this was mostly one of the strengths. I hope that a way can be found for it to remain so.
     
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  8. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It is a concern to me and a significant number of other people that people being brought onto the board have little knowledge of railway operations and, above all, the ethos of the volunteer and what drives him and her. Without the volunteer the wage bill will rocket and very few heritage railways are going to survive. Change is inevitable but it needs to be the right change.
     
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  9. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I do note that it is happening fairly widely, with some notable exceptions. I don't mind the appointments committee. What I think is regrettable is that I don't see too many structures formalising the consultative processes with volunteers that should in my view be built in to revised structures. I fear an "us and them" situation will, indeed in some places is, becoming an inevitable consequence. That has always been a risk, and I have seen it a few times. I do really worry that it is now becoming a far greater risk, one excerbated perhaps by the increased "professionalisation".
     
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  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I have fewer concerns about the external members - I'm a member of a board elsewhere, and those external members provide a very useful extra insight to our affairs. NYMR, like other preserved railways, is not just about railway operations, and other voices are both necessary and appropriate.

    My concern is rather at the way that the changes, taken together, lend themselves to creation of a closed shop for governance in an organisation that is, compared to others of it's kind, already excessively dependent on paid staff and struggling for volunteers. That does not feel like a sustainable model for the future of the railway that accords with it's stated reasons for existing as a charity - and if the purposes that drive operational volunteers to give so freely of their time aren't sustained, it's hard to see what the two new objectives deliver that wouldn't be equally at home in the objects of a local wildlife trust or, come to that, branch of Sustrans. The fact that, in the last elections, a number of seemingly well qualified volunteers were not selected rings alarm bells to me - all the louder given the luxury of having competition for the posts.

    There have also been discussions, here and elsewhere, about the appropriate degree of focus a charity should place on the wishes and opinions of volunteers. It's a complex discussion, which has many facets. But what shines brightest to me is the idea that volunteers are customers of the charity, and need to be sold to in order to give up their time and energy to the benefit of the organisation. It strikes a real chord to me, and is just as applicable in the church environment that I volunteer in as that of the preserved railway.

    With that non-railway hat on, I've spent time today reviewing proposed terms of reference. In doing so, I've found it interesting to match the quality of how the governance information has been set out with the detail of what the body in question is there to do. It's reinforced my conviction that it is very easy to over-focus on governance, and in doing so to lose focus on how that governance will actually advance the purposes of the organisation as a whole.

    Finally, I came across the concept of the "Trust Thermocline" recently, in a set of tweets by "John Bull" - https://twitter.com/garius/status/1588115310124539904?s=20&t=b-bzavldxhWYSFP4Dvh83A. It's a great description of how a progressive loss of customer engagement will suddenly turn into the collapse of a business, as people "suddenly" leave - where "suddenly" means they all reach the tipping point at the same time. NYMR is not the only railway where I worry about whether that may be about to happen for volunteers, leaving the operation unsustainably exposed.
     
  11. 21B

    21B Well-Known Member

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    So much of that thread @35B posted is applicable heritage railways I think. Perfectly sums up the situation generically. I make no comment about whether it applies to the NYMR, other than it might given the comments on here over the last years.
     
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  12. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    The architect of a lot of the changes that have been taking place on the NYMR (@Lineisclear) has been surprisingly conspicuous by his absence in the latter stages of this thread. I'm concerned that many of the changes being made seem to be masked as necessary for fundraising reasons rather than for the good of the organisation and the morale of its staff and, more particularly of its volunteers. Certainly, there has been a rapid and steep decline in the opportunities for volunteers to have significant input into the running of the railway. To take another indicative marker of the health of the organisation, , we have frequently heard on this forum that good communications are important and it has to be said that the NYMR is dire in that respect. It doesn't bode well despite the current success in securing grants Most successful grant applications need and even require volunteer contributions to deliver the desired outcome, and alienating the volunteer workforce is not going to help.
     
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  13. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    Some brief glimpses of the NYMR appearing in the new Indiana Jones Film in the trailer released earlier:


    It looks promising but not keen on the name
    "Dial of Destiny"

    With this Film and the new Mission Impossible Film due for release next year hopefully the NYMR will get a fair bit of publicity as both Films undertook extensive shoots on the line.

    Sent from my XQ-BT52 using Tapatalk
     
  14. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 Member

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    Just looked in on Grosmont webcam to see J27 and 29 on what I presume is a diner. There appears to be a boiler on a wagon in platform 4, ideas anybody?
     
  15. ykin01

    ykin01 Member

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    A post on Facebook earlier suggested it was 80135s boiler, believe an 08 is currently making the trip from Pickering to pick it up. So assume it'll be going away for overhaul.
     
  16. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    They were out yesterday as well. I don't know what these services are. I believe that the boiler is that from 80135 and is going away away to have a new copper firebox built and fitted.
     
  17. Steamie Boxes

    Steamie Boxes Member

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    The Pullman is the Christmas Moorlander with 65894 and 29 recreating the inaugural train
     
  18. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.
     
  19. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 Member

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    Fair amount of snow on the Moors, dining train cancelled today. Hopefully they will be able run Santa's, much needed revenue stream at this time of year.
     
  20. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 Member

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    Unusual sight (to me) Repton steam heating the Santa set she is coupled to in platform 2, and the diner stood in platform 3.Who knew steam engines could multi-task!
     

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