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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    There's a fundamental difference between the two. Brexit has an end date.
     
  2. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Is there a change in language and an emerging break through opportunity to stop the WSR War and bring peace to the WSR ? Having read and re-read the latest Steam Railway magazine articles and listening to some other recent information that’s reached by ears the rhetoric and tone may be changing.

    In amongst the still remaining “we think our way is the only way” voices there is a different tone coming from the PLC/WSSRT Boards camp, I’m assuming different people are now giving out a little more of the thought process behind their actions and introducing that into the messaging to the outside world. This justification is of course welcome because it allows a more constructive debate to start.

    Putting aside for one moment who will ‘own’ any new single charity (charity 3) who control a subservient operating company (PLC 2) which still remains a thorny issue, the ‘PLC plan’ (for want of a better word) of course involves a stated cost of a 6 figures sum and achieves either 1, 2 or 3 Charities depending on how the separate WSRA & WSSRT membership vote.

    The Membership lead ‘rebellion’ (let’s call it the Rebel Alliance or RA for want of a better word) sees Charity 1 & 2 merging to form a single charity who through the existing shareholding control PLC 1 who continue to run the railway so no risk to the LRO.

    If we say the objective of all on the WSR is to end up with a single charity controlling a single operating company when the two plans are not too far apart. So what’s the big problem both get there via differing routes with differing risks along the way?
    • Plan PLC has a six figure cost and a risk of remaining at 2 or 3 charities and according to the PLC has to involve buying the freehold for charity 3 which is something SCC said they wouldn’t do (as a part of their stated triple lock). But to be fair to all concerned they are issues which could be got around other than the cost of course. So it is viable as a plan.
    • Plan RA has not a lot of cost, keeps the PLC of today intact protecting the LRO and the existing shareholding of a merged WSRA & WSSRT controls them so will achieve 1 Charity controlling an operating company as a default position.
    • In either plan the ability for WSSRT Members and other groups to continue to do the good work they have done to date in the way they wish to do it with their own remit is important. Both plans will need to accommodate this, and I can see both plans can, but all have to see that the status quo of today which is what the WSSRT Boards members want is not an option. Change is coming one way or another because the third option is closure so that doesn’t allow the WSSRT to continue either.
    • The external grant funders are clear in saying that to attract largescale funding in the future where can only be 1 Charity, that’s a non-negotiable so that supports any 1 WSR Focused Charity plan with a viable target of £1 Million pa external funding going forward given current funding environments (exclude Covid in all this). That has to be key in any solution.
    • Timing is also important here. The PLC plan involves debating a change at the end of 2021 in AGM’s which I assume if the money can be found and the process completed quickly gives a mid-2022 completion and the RA plan talks about March 21 as a completion.
    So at face value what’s the problem and why the war, surely the RA plan is cleanest, quickest, easiest and cheapest? This brings us to the real issue: People. There is no trust and many can’t work together.

    I have sympathy with the PLC, WSRA, WSSRT and the RA here in equal measures all feel that the other people are the problem and due to the long term internal war those feelings are deep routed and have got complex over the years as individuals have moved between the 3 Boards meaning alliances have changed and re-changed.

    In amongst the various PLC/WSSRT Steam Railway article statements (clearly acting in unison as one person who sits on both Boards is quoted in the PLC statement as talking for the WSSRT as well) which in effect say the RA have nowhere to go, its over and everybody disagrees with them in the same old aggressive way, there is also a chink of light and new language which could start peace talks if all wished.

    The PLC & John Bailey have now said in Steam Railway two things in public: (acknowledgment to SR, please go out and buy a copy).
    • PLC Chairman: “there never has been any plan for the WSRA to be the (new) charity; the WSR needs a clean fresh start”.
    • John Bailey when asked by SR why not let the RA plan go ahead: “Yes, and you could change its Charitable objectives relatively easily – but I don’t think the PLC would agree to it because of the WSRA’s past ‘baggage’ and certain personalities".
    Personally I agree with both the PLC Chairman and JB in these two comments. The issues are now stated by both sides and now the obstacles are known and that’s good. Clearly the PLC. WSSRT and the RA have all now stated their issues, only the WSRA remain quiet.

    The WSRA as an organisational entity clearly can’t be the problem, it’s just a legal structure, and that goes for the WSSRT & the PLC as well. They all serve a purpose as a legal entity only, none of them can have baggage or a personality, so it’s down to People.

    What is now needed is a truly neutral party to negotiate with all so all sides can be clear who the people concerned they feel are and how to get the people concerned to move aside and remove the only issue which stands in the way of Peace in Somerset.

    The alternative is of course to continue the other thing that’s reached my ears as happening currently. It appears from rumours that the RA continues to try and get people to join the WSSRT to support them at the AGM and the PLC continues to try and get staff & volunteers to join the WSSRT to support them also. Now that’s a stupid arms race if ever I saw one!!!! Come on everybody, time to be grown-ups and deal with the one issue which could end this. All take a deep breath, sit around a table and work out who needs to step down with good grace from any of the Boards for the good of the WSR.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  3. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

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    I am sure in that in some cases the stays are not drilled right through, thus no air going through. The holes are purely a means of seeing if a stay has fractured.
     
  4. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    As I see it, there is a fundamental difference between the two 'sides' here.

    The RA are all existing WSSRT members standing for election as is their democratic right. They are entitled IMHO to encourage new members to join the Trust, but of course they take the risk that some might do so to vote against them. To that extent I view it as internal Trust business. On the other hand, whilst WSR staff and volunteers are equally entitled to apply for Trust membership and then vote as they see fit, the Plc itself - as a corporate body - is not AFAIK a Trust member and therefore should not be meddling in internal Trust matters.
     
  5. Forestpines

    Forestpines Part of the furniture

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    Indeed - aren't the comments in SR just an admission that there are some WSR people so disliked by other WSR people that the latter would rather not have a railway than have the former reach any position of management?

    At least there's one winner in that particular arms race - the WSSRT bank account!
     
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  6. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    The Rebel Alliance? Has this now become "WSR Wars"? "A long time ago, on a branch line far, far, away..."
    I forsee a photoshopped film publicity poster coming along.
     
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  7. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    But who will play Princess Leia ?....:)
     
  8. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    Robin?
     
  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Moving swiftly on... :eek:
     
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  10. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    She can't, she's one of the rebels.
     
  11. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    And maybe a Family Guy spoof?
     
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  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Wouldn't South Park be closer? Any nominations for who'd be Kenny or Mr.Hanky?
     
  13. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    I’m not even going there! :):)
     
  14. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    never mind, Princess Leia, who's going to play Garth Vader :)
    The subject of personalities, is about the saddest part, in this sad saga, see i'm sure whose personalities, on both sides love their railway, as they would see it, or wish to visualise it into, as long as those people they hate, were not part of it, its a circle that I don't think can ever be squared, or even broken, because it disenfranchises the other side, one has to win, the other has to lose, and everybody has to pick a side,
     
  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    storm troopers marching along Minehead station platform, checking everyone has the right paperwork, passes, etc, whilst the rebels, gather at BL
     
  16. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    One of your more wise comments, in my view. Can I add that any railway with a clear set of goals - the raison d'etre - if you like, plus a clear set of strategies that gets the railway moving towards those goals will mean that people can understand what is going on. They can then align with the vision or go somewhere else and align with an alternative vision rather than try and make it into something that the rationale doesn't match.

    I don't think that the WSR has anything approaching that and as a result there are arguments about which locos they should have and which they shouldn't have, what project should be next etc etc.

    Is it that simple or am I missing something?
     
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  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Only one thing - that even where vision is provided, the personalities can get in the way.
     
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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Like I said, it creates the continuation of the problem, I know every line has its own problematical supporters, but they tend to not be quite so high profile as in the case of the WSR, most other lines, they seem to be kept in check, but then other lines are on the face of it less confrontational in their style of industrial relations, and have well laid down internal rules for dealing with such issues, something that's clearly lacking at Minehead,
     
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  19. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The present WSSRT trustees have made clear which plan they support. That could explain why, after claiming that they could not cope with new membership applications, they started accepting them again when a flurry of pro-PLC applications arrived.

    I would not expect us to be told who the pro-PLC applicants are, but it would be good to know how numerous they are and exactly why they favour the new-PLC-and-new-charity plan over the merged-charity-controlling-the-existing-PLC plan.

    Along with Andy's "RA" shorthand, can someone come up with concise monikers for the two rival plans -- preferably names that don't imply that one is good and the other is bad but that just identify them in neutral terms?
     
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  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Charity Consolidators for those who'd merge WSRA and WSSRT to be the overarching charity, Clean Slaters for those who'd craft a new charity in line with the Bailey report.
     
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