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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. pgbffest

    pgbffest Member

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    So there's a thought as a worse case scenario. The 10 carry out their plan and takeover the PLC. The ORR realise that there is no experience on a railway that is already in trouble and appear with a bit of paper to close the place down until such time as they are re-assured that everything is well?
     
  2. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    No experience? the Ten, between them have probably more experience in railway management and systems than the current plc board, the actual department managers would be likely to stay the same, despite any change in the people at the top.
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Have you read the CVs of the 10?

    Of course, this board has done such a good job of running the railway that the ORR has never had to step in at all and close down the railway until they were re-assured that everything was well.
     
  4. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Given the timing of the ORR intervention, blaming the current board for those problems is unfair. Their disrepute is based on their conduct since the closure, not leading up to it.


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  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    It was still on their watch. BTW why didn't the WSR run any trains this year?
     
  6. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Yes, on their watch because they engaged with ORR and then responded. The situation was not of their making, but much deeper rooted.

    By comparison, the lack of trains this year feels very much like the responsibility of the current board. In particular, I still don’t understand why the failure to run trains was the result of Covid when the newsletter linked to by @FrankC described the failure of the Seaward Way crossing as preventing regular running outright.


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  7. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    I remember i burnt a steak while staying in a caravan in Burnham on sea a few years ago, could never get on with propane gas. :(
     
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  8. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Assizes?wprov=sfti1 is your friend. And of the 500 odd tried at Taunton, 144 were executed - but none burned at the stake.

    However, I suggest that Judge Jefferies is a good example of what the WSR does not need, from any faction.


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  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Oh yes, indeed it did. To quote Wikipedia:-

    From Winchester the court proceeded through the West Country to Salisbury, Dorchester, Exeter and on to Taunton, before finishing up at Wells on 23 September. .......The Taunton Assize took place in the Great Hall of Taunton Castle .......Of more than 500 prisoners brought before the court on the 18/19 September, 144 were hanged and their remains displayed around the county to ensure people understood the fate of those who rebelled against the king.

    Compared with that, having one's Staff ID withdrawn pales into insignificance :)
     
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Don't give people ideas.
     
  11. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    You are right that is a worst case scenario and you are right we should look at the ways anybody’s plan could be taken by the individuals concerned and ensure its not individuals who ‘take over’ the WSR. Because that’s be honest this is a battle for the sole of the WSR as it stands at the minute.

    I can’t speak for the 10, I like their solution to the problems, but I’m not stuck on them as the only way, also we should be open minded about how to turn what is an overview plan (as is the PLC’s plan) at this moment into a detailed reality with safeguards in place to stop what you describe as a takeover: i.e. The individuals themselves taking over the Operating Company and the Controlling Charity for their own narrow and defined individual purpose whatever that maybe. To be honest I could see that either Plan currently on the table could in theory stage a takeover as you describe it, but if you think it through neither would be able to in reality as long as we all keep a focus on it.

    The ‘10’(it should be 12 but the current WSSRT Board have just said no) have as far as I can see said they are not going to takeover the PLC. They have said the merging of the WSRA & WSSRT bringing the shareholding together allows the PLC Board (as the Operating Company) to be controlled by a single Charity made up of the Board members of both existing Charities thus giving both Charities a say in the WSR’s future. That Charity Board will be made up of Trustees elected by the Members. I don’t think any of them have said they will be taking over the PLC or see themselves on the PLC Board ?

    The 10 have also said they will step aside as individuals on the Charity Board at the right time when new people come in, that’s a great offer but they will have to in any case because the Members will elect them or not based on their personal merits, so it’s good to hear as a confidence builder to hold them too later but not much else.

    The Bailey plan ends up at the same place, a Charitable entity which I assume also has Trustees who are elected by the Membership (the details haven’t been confirmed as to who makes up the Board and how they are elected, but I might have missed that, @Lineisclear will pick me up on this if I have).

    Both plans end up at more or less the same place just by different routes, as does @Jamessquared version. Its then just down to which is the best path to take to get to the end goal which everybody more or less agrees with as the objective in any case.

    Your point highlights the battle ground which is just a defection but could stop any of this happening or worst allow a decision which is the wrong one which we will only find out when the WSR fails. Many people are making their choices based on voting in or out people they do or don’t like on a personal level and the current Management have continued to drive a wedge into this by saying “this person is bad and needs to be removed from the WSR because of this, this and this” instead of arguing the facts of their actions which the person concerned 'called out' as not the right way to go. Later of course it’s usually discovered that “this, this and this” is not true but by then the damage is done and the divide gets wider and wider because if somebody says something often enough it becomes the truth, unless you are really careful in checking the facts and cutting through the rhetoric.

    What I’m trying to say here is there is a lot of hatred around the WSR currently and many people have played on and encouraged that, but it’s not a basis to make a big structural decision on.

    I’ve been taking soundings from people close to the action on all sides over the last few weeks and it shines through as the number one factor people are going to vote on at the forthcoming WSSRT AGM (which is just one small step for the WSR not the end game). “I won’t vote for xxx because I hate the bogeyman in chief because in 1972 somebody else told me they put milk in their tea first and I can't accept that so they have to be run off the WSR entirely” I’m not having a go at you personally, this is endemic, wide spread and deeply entrenched and I think it’s getting in the way of reasoned debate.

    Regarding the ORR, we can trade CV’s in a massive game of Top Trumps all day long but that is not the thing we should be focusing on. In my opinion we should never ever make this decision regarding what the structure looks like based on any individual, it’s what is best for the WSR and its standing in the Community that is important.

    What @Steve said in post #34462 regarding the ORR’s opinions rings a cord and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me.
    • The controlling Charity needs to be made up of the best people we have available, elected by the Members who own the WSR on behalf of the community. This Board needs to start setting the direction, keep the strategic plan progressing, set the culture, ensure good governance and keep the Operating Company held to account and within their remit, which has not happened to date.
    • The Operating Company Board needs to be made up of Directors who are the best people we have available who ‘do the doing’ and they must focus on that and not decide the strategic things like buying the freehold or kicking other groups out. Plus of course the ORR must be comfortable with them as the Regulator as a non-negotiable.
    These are two different skills sets and will require in the main two different sets of people so I don’t see how Plan Rebel Alliance or Plan PLC can stage a takeover of the PLC and the Charity.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    interesting, SO 144 were hung,, ad their bodies i would imagine dipped in tar and placed in giblets at prominant places as a warning, As was the practice then, Generally burning at the stake was in the time of bloody Mary, and reserved for heretics (Catholics) , Was Somerset not as much a hot bed of rebellion back then, as it appears to be today then.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Martin, I’m really not sure this continued dredging up of such imagery and attempt to draw parallels with violent past events is in the best interests of reconciliation, even if meant in jest. It’s a heritage railway, not an existential geo-political struggle.

    Tom
     
  14. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    Monday is the 2nd of November I thought .....?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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  16. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    I know that one of our group has been approached directly twice and indirectly once, politely declining on each occasion. Standing for the board of the smaller of the two charities is hardly lusting for power.
     
  17. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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    Except for the calendar, being as that was the LASTFINAL that was published how could they not have seen the mistake in the drafts and however many finals they had gone through before they got to this one?
     
  18. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Humm... Focusing attention back on the Plc for a moment (cue sound of everyone else breathing a sigh of relief :)) I'm interested in what's been said in this document..

    In the paragraph "The ORR Visit":- "This visit was part of a regular programme of inspections of all railways, including heritage railways." Considering how frequently the ORR normally visits I would suggest that this return visit, following so soon after the last, was more like a follow-up inspection to see if things had been actioned rather than part of a "...regular programme of inspections..." and "In this case the inspectors had to satisfy themselves that the railway was safe to operate from November, and they agreed that it was." Even given all the alleged problems with the Seaward Way crossing? Interesting.

    And in the next paragraph; Cultural Heritage Recovery Find (CHRF) Initiative:- The focus will be on the things we need to do have a fully operational railway in place by that date [31 March 2021]. This includes the actions that the company needs to deliver following the visit of the ORR. Oh... but...?

    Are we now back in a similar situation to what happened after the last 'serious' visit that caused the long winter shutdown? The ORR has visited and Steve Williams has confirmed in his (CHRF) paragraph that work needs to be done to comply. To be completed by 31/3/21. So, is this work the remnants of that last visits faults and indicates that the required P.Way repairs or other actions are still incomplete? Or have more problems been found needing to be addressed?

    It doesn't matter really either way - except that the 'Secret Society' (oops, sorry - Plc Board) are again saying that things have to be done while, yet again, saying nothing about what actually needs to be done. Is it some big trade secret? Are they embarrassed about the ORR picking them up on some things? Are they frightened to admit just how bad the situation (or even the current relationship with the ORR?) is? Who knows - pick a story if you will. I just don't understand why they cannot just say "We've had a visit and X, Y and z need to be addressed before March.". Then everyone knows what needs doing and even if it's not their trade/skill set/department everyone would have been included (one railway anyone?) and, who knows, someone not directly involved might just come up with a good idea of how to do whatever it is better/cheaper/quicker.

    Oh well, perhaps someone would like to ask the question at the forthcoming Plc AGM. Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer though.
     
  19. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Well we know Seaward crossing can be used for one off movements such as getting stock out, the reopening plans to run BL-WN so why would the crossing have an effect on such workings.

    I’d imagine that there are two separate situations here. The first is the railway proposing to run BL-WN only for the Santa trains, this means the ORR can approve the operation of that section while still having issues with the non operational section. The second is I would imagine that the railway needs to sort out these issues by March to allow the full line reopening which part of the funding is for, not sure what your point is if I am honest as they are two separate things.
     
  20. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    The point is simply that they say there are issues and then don't bother to say what those issues are. Small/large? Physical/documents? Perhaps if they tried to keep everybody informed they might find people appreciate being included in 'the railway' operations.
     

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