If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,338
    Likes Received:
    2,852
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I am a shareholder and have not been consulted on anything. Interestingly I have received no communication from the Plc concerning AGMs or anything since I started posting on here my disapproval of the board's actions, but perhaps I should not read too much into that.
    I, too can think of a perfectly legitimate way that the WSSRT trustees could have killed off the bid of the 15 for election, which was to do nothing except to circulate a calmly-worded note to all members stating their disapproval of the candidates aims and methods, then to have held the AGM at the original time. It is unlikely that many, if any, of the candidates would have been elected and that would have been that. That they chose to condone by silence a campaign of pressure on the candidates that caused five of them to withdraw, then proceed to postpone the AGM and close down membership applications speaks volumes for their competence and integrity, but not in a good way.
    Somehow the Plc needs to persuade a large majority of shareholders to give their shares away. If they only succeed in persuading a slim majority, it could end up like Brexit, with a very large disgruntled minority being told their shares are worthless.
    BTW, "it seems likely" are the sort of weasel words beloved of the Remain campaign in Brexit, casting fear, uncertainty and doubt, without actually saying something that anyone could be challenged on. Come, on, you are the lawyer, the expert, would they have to get 75% or not?
     
    Triumph 2500S likes this.
  2. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,558
    Likes Received:
    3,417
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A good and objective assessment and welcome post from a less frequent poster in this thread.
     
    Bifur01 likes this.
  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,635
    Likes Received:
    4,793
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    Although a lot of very good work has been done on some of the coaches so far (and all credit to those responsible) to my untrained eye the deterioration rate of the remainder is at risk of rapidly outstripping the restoration rate. To that extent therefore it might be argued that so far the WSSRT has had a poor success rate, so the idea of a group dedicated solely to that task might make some sense - but then, so far IIRC nothing in Bailey or subsequent statements by the various organisations seems to have mentioned that option.

    On the other hand, if the WSSRT were to become part of a (new/merged) larger WSR single charity, then the coach restoration might benefit from having access to more resources and funding than currently.
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,411
    Likes Received:
    14,901
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    With respect, it is just another opinion. If what those coaches needed was a dedicated group, they have that already. That is the current WSSRT trustees' argument, they they need to maintain their independence for fear of coaches being swallowed up in a bigger group as inconsequential. The problem with that argument is that progress under that model had been limited so far. Even someone involved in leading that effort has commented to that effect in the last couple of days elsewhere. It needs big grants, working with other organisations outside of the railway. I think it's a perfectly reasonable view that being part of a whole railway charity would allow that to happen.
     
    Triumph 2500S, Paul42, ross and 3 others like this.
  5. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    1,911
    Occupation:
    Solicitor
    Location:
    South Wales
    I think I’m right in saying that the “new” charity owning the Plc as a subsidiary would have 2 main purposes -

    1. to own the freehold
    2. to allow gift aid to be claimed on ticket sales.

    any other benefits (eg rail renewal fund) are currently duplicated by the WSRA and WSST.

    I wouldn’t disagree with those who are saying that you could in principle have 2 charities, the new one and a merger of the two existing, perhaps if the WSRA and WSST merged to form a larger rolling stock charity then this would benefit the overall structure even with the separate charity. This could encompass locos and coaches, if 7828 and 9351 were transferred into the charity as well then you would have a stable base of 4 home locos plus the prospect of further heritage carriages being restored. The museum function could be an extension of the rolling stock charity ; after all the sleeping car is the centrepiece. I think a charity of this nature would better take into account the needs of the WSR as a whole.

    the basic problem with the present situation is that the Plc won’t accept the merged WSRA/WSST as the controlling body and if the new charity goes ahead independently there is a risk of duplication as stated above. It would leave questions marks about the role of the WSRA in particular. Neither is SCC likely to transfer the freehold to the WSRA/WSST if the Plc disagree (see what happened last time).

    A new charity providing rolling stock of a heritage nature to the WSR would surely be a very worthy aim and an important part of the overall picture. Chance for compromise?

    regards

    Matt
     
  6. Poolbrook

    Poolbrook New Member Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    100
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Having searched my email inbox more carefully, I have now found that I had a message from the PA to the chair of the plc on 01 October headed Letter to Shareholders. This did invite comments as part of a consultation process. So I apolgise for missing that and giving the impression of a lack of contact. I am responding as requested.
     
    35B likes this.
  7. Downline

    Downline New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2020
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Maybe the 10/11/12 (or whatever number we are on today), plus those that 'dropped out' could assist with the project, whether they are elected onto the board or not. Quite a few of them have made it quite clear in there 'Grand unveiling' that they have serious engineering credentials whether that be by qualification, experience, 0r own a business. Maybe they could go and help out the group working on the coaches, or maybe thats wishful thinking yet again...
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,411
    Likes Received:
    14,901
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I would certainly hope that the new candidates have some ideas as to how to progress the coaches a bit faster. I don't think that necessarily needs to translate as turning up to volunteer at Williton on a regular basis. I think it needs a bigger step change than that, but I hope they might be able to help come up with that plan.
     
    Monkey Magic and jnc like this.
  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,635
    Likes Received:
    4,793
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    I sense the emergence of various posts along the lines that visible on-site volunteering = good, not being seen on site = bad.

    This attitude (sadly all too prevalent at some heritage railways) fails to take account of various factors such as the fact that some volunteers have 'day jobs', some have domestic and/or care responsibilities, not everyone lives within easy access of the WSR etc etc. There are many shades/varieties of volunteering and it is unreasonable IMHO for one volunteer to (appear to) be critical of another simply because their place and method of volunteering differs.

    For example, COVID-19 problems notwithstanding, I have not been anywhere near one of the other heritage railways of which I am a member for at least 12 months now. BUT...I have spent many, many hours of the period helping (in a modest way) from the supposed comfort of my armchair with the background design work for the signalling of their next extension. I would be heartedly p***** off if it was suggested by a fellow volunteer that this was of 'no consequence' compared with being on-site up to my elbows in grease.
     
  10. howard

    howard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    257
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired Ship's Engineer
    Location:
    Sandwich Kent
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Years ago when I was a stroppy Second Engineer on a ferry a wise old Chief Engineer told me not to equate work with having a spanner in my hand.
     
  11. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    14,375
    Likes Received:
    8,705
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The problem I see with the PLC turning its self into a charity is that given the recent history of how the PLC has behaved, who would wish to join any charity that is associated with it,
    I even question the honesty of the plan, Its main reason was to be a way to gain the freehold, once it became clear, its not going to be considered, it has been kicked into the long grass,
    Then you have the question of who would actually own the charity, because none of the existing shareholders unless they buy membership will have any stake in the charity, so only people who actually join, and pay membership would have any votes, would the existing members of the other two charities join a third? especially if the current plc board appointed themselves as interim board members ? that is only going to confuse matters further,
    Either the idea was just a front, a way to gain the freehold, so parts of the line could be sold for its development potential, to pay for the cost of purchasing the free hold, or its a way to in effect do away with the entire existing charities and station groups, as I would imagine that all working members would have to as a condition of being able to work on the line be a member of this new charity so there would be very limited, if any need for the WSSRT and the WSRA shorn of their shareholdings, the charitable groups might even be under threat.
     
    ross likes this.
  12. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,355
    Likes Received:
    6,919
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I think that anyone involved with the NYMR and the LNERCA would disagree with you. There will always be too many other calls on fundraising and priorities will dictate that these coaches will be at the bottom of the pile. Far better to have a dedicated charity to look after their restoration and one that (hopefully) will not be distracted from that course by other events.
     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    5,576
    Likes Received:
    3,247
    The PLC plan would have a new charity and a new PLC, so all the shares in the old PLC, whether presently held by the WSRA, the WSSRT or individual shareholders, would become void. The only share transfer involved in the new candidates' plan would be from the WSRA and the WSSRT to the new combined charity, along with all the other rights, obligations, assets and liabilities of those two preset charities.
     
  14. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    770
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It sounds so dratted complicated! There are a number around which are far simpler yet own their freehold and some or all of their equipment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,411
    Likes Received:
    14,901
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree Steve, there are many counter-examples which suggest a group focussed more on carriages than anything else is a distinct advantage. But that is the rational the current WSSRT trustees are using to maintain the status quo, and that is patently not working. A separate group works best if they actually have the capability to do their projects. (No disrespect to those involved intended). There reaches a certain point where, if you cannot gather enough specific "support", then a fraction of a larger pot of more general "support" is better. (I use "support as shorthand for volunteers, money, time spent thinking about the project etc.) If the carriage project was part of the main railway charity, it seems to me to make it easier to include them in grant-funding bids, or apprentice schemes and the like.
     
    jnc and MellishR like this.
  16. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    1,911
    Occupation:
    Solicitor
    Location:
    South Wales
    well possibly. The principle is easy enough; a charity which owns the infrastructure (with Plc subsidiary) and a separate charity/organisation providing rolling stock. This is present elsewhere, as noted above. Whether it’s too complex for the WSR is another matter.
     
  17. steam_mad

    steam_mad Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    792
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I don't think one size fits all here. The SRPS for example have restored a number of heritage coaches (two Caledonian and three LNER designed vehicles currently in operation with two LMS TOs, an NBR saloon and Gresley TK not too far down the line) whilst operating a heritage railway, Museum and railtour company. Yes, priorities change over time and some of these vehicles may have been completed more quickly had they been owned, funded and restored by a separate charitable group. However, under SRPS ownership they've taken advantage of the Society's status as a nationally accredited museum which has opened up a range of grant funding for acquisition, restoration and storage which might not be available otherwise whilst at the same time avoiding duplicated overhead costs involved with company/charity administration. Additionally, each coach has a restricted fund under which donated monies cannot be used elsewhere and the Society actively encourages groups of volunteers to fund their own projects - like an independent group would - where possible.
     
    Paul42, jnc, MellishR and 4 others like this.
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,411
    Likes Received:
    14,901
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree, but it illustrates the other possiblities that might have bene out there that current WSSRT trustees might have preferred to the current one. If they were a bit more engaged in wholesale change they could have steered things more towards their liking. But because of their head-in-the-sand approach, they've blown it.
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,651
    Likes Received:
    37,606
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    On the Bluebell, the heritage carriages are overhauled in the main workshop and funded where appropriate from the Bluebell Railway Trust, with restricted funds. Checking the latest accounts, there are restricted funds for the Maunsell Restaurant Car; Pullman cars; Carriages in general; Bulleid carriages; and ten other unlisted funds for carriages or wagons, as well as a fund for covered storage. So without being prescriptive, it would seem possible to prioritise carriages without having an independent charity to do so.

    The elephant in the room though is where all the extra money (and skills) will come from to make a step change in the fortunes of the WSR's vintage carriages? If funding and progress has been relatively slow thus far, I'm not sure what might cause that to change in the future. An awful lot of fundraising is about having dedicated people slogging hard in the background to make it happen. In all the time I've followed such matters, the plc seem profoundly indifferent to those carriages, and one can understand why people might be reluctant to work on them when there seems little enthusiasm to see the fruits of their labours running.

    Tom
     
  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,781
    Likes Received:
    4,965
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Sadly, from a passengers perspective I fear that the PLC are not as interested in carriages as they should be
     

Share This Page