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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Your wish is...

    A70A4F82-6EB4-425D-BB36-00786FC17C0A.jpeg

    But seriously, treating volunteers with dignity and respect is tremendously important, and it should be remembered (1) that the heritage railway model doesn’t work without them, and (2) they can choose another railway or another organisation to volunteer for.

    The willingness to treat individuals properly is tested by the culture management engenders and particularly how management responds those who act foolishly or thoughtlessly (and which of us have not done so occasionally).

    It will be known that I have assisted a number of railways or individuals in following fair processes. I regard that as a professional duty. At the last count I have provided such assistance in the context of more than 25 heritage organisations.

    Fair process and the understanding that concerns can be raised without fear of repercussions is an essential part of a effective safety culture.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    Robin

    LLB MIRO (inter alia)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  2. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    And under the present regime in place on the WSR, should Robin intercede on behalf of an volunteer, or employee against the plc, , would she be at risk of losing her right to work on the WSR?
     
  3. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Everyone makes mistakes and so everyone lays themselves open to criticism as a result. I think it is fair to say that nobody enjoys being criticised and that the temptation to avoid it by silencing the critics, should there be the means to do so, is always there. In the past such criticism rarely went outside the railway, mainly being limited to grumbling in the mess room. Even letters to the press never got further than the local rags. Then along came social media and suddenly the criticism was all over the world, courtesy of the internet, impossible to ignore. Those being criticised now had an excuse for silencing their critics - "it's damaging our trade". Employment policies could be put in place forbidding the participation in social media, but, at the bottom of it, it's still the same age old temptation not being resisted.
     
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  4. FrankC

    FrankC Well-Known Member

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    No, Julian, this is not at all what I am saying, as I think you probably know! In the distant past, I have been a Trades Union elected official (I only mention this because you brought up the matter of Trades Unions!) and knew, even in the days I was involved (which was a little after the Victorian era), that disputes conducted in public very rarely got anywhere for anyone. They very rarely do now.

    Those reading these exchanges will know what I'm trying to say, and can decide for themselves. I'm off for a cup of tea.
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    You ought to let the PLC board know that.
     
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Four posts that are a personal exchange between two people that also mentions a third party have been held back for Moderator discussion.
     
  7. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Thank you.
    I note that it says "The purpose of this communication is to ensure the facts are shared". Its rapid removal implies some confusion about the accuracy of the alleged facts.
    One obvious benefit to the PLC of owning the freehold, besides the dubious arithmetic of spending money it doesn't have in order to be able to borrow money (which in turn would need to be repaid idc), would be to eliminate the possibility of its lease being cancelled as it is trying to do with the S&D Trust's lease.
     
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  8. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure why everyone keeps saying that the May 11 freehold statement has been removed. It is still freely available on hops just now.
    Ian Coleby
     
  9. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    HOPS is a rather esoteric place. The HOPS site I use needs a password.
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    HOPS is an internal site for staff communication - rosters, notices, that sort of thing. I suspect the inference is that the statement was inadvertently released into the public domain on the public website, when it was actually intended just for staff communication.

    Tom
     
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  11. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    In my lifetime, the attitude to debt has gone from something you get into as a last resort, to be repaid as quickly as possible, to a normal part of everyday life. Even the terminology has changed. Companies are no longer "in debt", they are "leveraged". It is not at all out of the way that the current Plc board see borrowing a large amount of money to buy the freehold and then borrowing even more as a way out of the current crisis, it's what everyone does. In times of trouble, you borrow against your assets, and this is the only way they can borrow against the asset of the lease, against which no money has yet been raised. Of course this presupposes that future profits are enough to cover the repayments, but if the company goes under, that's fairly immaterial and, if it doesn't, they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
     
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  12. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    The irony being that it is companies who've got significant debts that are most vulnerable right now, as their cashflow comes under real pressure - meaning that servicing debt puts additional strain on otherwise successful companies.
     
  13. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    It also depends on what else the PLC - as owners of the land - seek to do with it especially if such activity is against the interest of the railway operation (e.g. sell for house building). Sadly the actions of the current Board to date does not inspire me to trust its current motives or its long term vision to secure the WSR / railway's future.
     
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  14. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Note that loyalty is a two-way matter; withdrawing ID cards and human resource agreements does not show loyalty from above - especially when it expects loyalty to above.
     
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  15. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Just a gentle reminder that trustee nomination are open for WSRA.
    You need to have been a member for one year and be proposed and seconded by two other members.
    Anybody who'd meets the criteria and wants to know more is welcome to get in touch with me via my WSRA e-mail.

    Here is your chance to have a say in how the railways support charity is run. There is a short video here:

    Essential reading is the "essential trustee" published by the Charity Commision https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-essential-trustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3 - you can find the pdf document here.
     
  16. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Moderators' Message

    Following a team discussion, one member has been suspended. The content or implied content of individual and private conversations that have not taken place on here should not be made public - unless all parties who are involved agree. Neither should personal accusations be made irrespective of the strength of opinion.

    We are sorry to remind everyone of something that should be self-evident. If individuals who choose to post on this thread cannot follow these and other Forum Rules then they, sadly will suffer a similar fate.

    Please respect this thread and the wider Forum as a means of sharing information in an open, unprovocative and considerate manner.
     
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  17. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    AFAICS, buying the freehold is a perfectly reasonable way to raise cash by "leveraging" the value of the remaining lease. What is slightly worrying is that the Plc obviously don't see it that way, or they would have been more open in their approaches to SCC, i.e. gone through the PDG, which suggests there might be another motive. Alternatively, perhaps the emails released under FOI were just normal "sounding out", in which case, why have they released a memo sounding aggrieved about their coming into the public domain. It may be, of course, that they were afraid of a knee-jerk reaction after the previous attempt and it does remain the case that both approaches have been made by parties who appear or appeared to be seeking control over the whole railway.
     
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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Yes, the similarities are very obvious, both seemingly wanted to gain complete power, and for their own interests, possibly not for the best interests of the railway. And of course, there will be no one strong enough on the Plc. front to put on the brakes and turn the direction back round, before it runs into severe difficulties.
     
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  19. jumper

    jumper New Member

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    Although the statement doesn't specifically state who would purchase the freehold, by inference it is the PLC (raising an overdraft/loan against the freehold). The main issue for any asset the PLC owns is it would be vulnerable if the PLC ever became insolvent. Surely the previous intent of putting it in the hands of a suitable Charitable body would offer must greater protection in the long term - if the freehold was ever purchased of course! That is apart from the question of where the (significant) funds would come from the fund the purchase (another appeal?).
     
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  20. Downline

    Downline Member

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    It just seems strange to me that a company can go from being in what they claim a 'strong financial position' at the beginning of the year to requiring to buy the freehold to be able to have an asset as leverage for an increase in their overdraft all in a matter of weeks/months. Either you are in a good financial position or you are not.

    And now the PLC has gone from having few loans (mortgage for Station House at Bishops Lydeard) to being loan dependant in the space of a few years, what happens when the current board who are the masterminds behind this new loan dependent business model decide to move on and pass the problem onto another board? Will we see one board lumped with a proper financial crisis and a previous board claim its nothing to do with them. Will there be anyone wanting to take the reigns of the PLC if the current board were to leave?

    Things just don't add up with the inconsistent financial stories that come out of the PLC. Hence why there is a lot of speculation all across social media that the PLC dislikes.
     

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