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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Hum, well having been away for a weekend, funnily enough at the Caravan Park at Blue Anchor, which was strangely quiet without the railway, my usual report on visits to that area is probably that I like Morrisons at Minehead, & was pleased to see that Lidl had self service tills, the absence of which is a major bugbear in my local store.

    But...............

    There have been comments about structures, but what hasnt been considered is how structures change behaviour. It has been pointed out in the Brexit negotiations that UK Politicians are far to used to getting their own way thanks to First Past The Post whereas Europeans schooled in Coalition Governments formed by PR are used to negotiation & compromise.

    Clearly where you have an operating company controlled by a 'Membership' body the board will have an activist sole or majority shareholder whose views they may well seek to challenge, indeed on occasions may well have to, BUT which will clearly step in if they get it wrong. As a former chair of the Governors at the school my two youngest attend put it, he has to be a 'Critical Friend' of The Head and say so if The Head looks like getting it wrong.

    I suspect that the Washford Debacle would not have happened under such a structure because

    1. It wasn't in the plan set down by the controlling organisation
    2. The board know that if they do something irrational the controlling organisation will step in, and
    3. Ultimately the culture is going to be very different, no chair can act as they please.
     
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  2. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    That's it!
     
  3. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    >>>>>no chair can act as they please....

    Are you sure - the one on which I am sat seems to have a mind of its own :)

    But seriously - whatever system one has, it needs to incorporate 'checks& balances', which IMHO is what seems to be glaringly absent on the WSR.
     
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  4. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    As a Chair is for sitting on ...... please form an orderly queue !
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Can I ask if there have been any further developments on this.

    @ikcdab said he would investigate further. I may have missed the outcome of this.
     
  6. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    Sorry. I've had rather a busy few days. For @35B, the construction industry is carrying on regardless as essential.
    Anyhow, Ian spoke to Don Fraser, who e-mailed me wednesday evening. I replied promptly into the drafts folder (digitwat) so it was saturday, and another message from Don before I replied. All now in hand.
    I do not doubt that the WSSRT, its members, secretary, etc. are able to run an honest election. My concern is that whatever the outcome, this matter ends at the AGM, without possible controversy about the votes, the count, or subsequent claims or litigious murmurings. I think the WSR as a whole cannot afford this, financially, emotionally, socially. never mind the effects on the long serving (suffering?) members and trustees of the WSSRT who never asked for any of this.
     
  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely, for the railway to move on there needs to be absolute transparency.

    I am glad to hear that it is all in hand.
     
  8. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    But would the railway want to buy in all the necessary Christmassy stuff, knowing there's no guarantee of lockdown lifting or trains running after 2 December?

    Trains in the right places, locos prepped and staff trained is only part of a much bigger operation.
     
  9. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    Can someone clarify a few things for me pls? As I see it:

    The 10 are putting themselves forward for election along with others. Members can choose a combination of candidates.

    So there is a very good chance that the "winners" will in fact be a mixture of some of the 10 together with other candidates.

    This then wouldn't be a "takeover" but a different combination of people.

    Or have I missed something?
     
  10. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Quite - several (perhaps the majority?) of the "10" are frankly unelectable in terms of what they would bring to the WSSRT in the view of a number of WSR working volunteers. Others are more plausible.
     
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  11. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Seems to be no way of stopping the "hateathon" . Unless people stop thinking and, worse, speaking in this fashion, then the WSR has no future. Just vote for or against individuals privately.
     
  12. Herald

    Herald Member

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    How about a new approach which mirrors the privatised mainline with the PLC acting as infrastructure provider and the support groups as TOC's bidding for train paths?

    Then they can all compete with the different support associations and possibly an additional mainline connected one (open access TOC's) pursuing their separate aims. The public can then decide which they wish to travel with, the various groups in genuine competition and the customer deciding which offering they wished to support.
     
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  13. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Which is one thing that has surprised me that the Plc have left it so late to announce running at Christmas. Getting all the external stuff in place like a bulk order of wrapped presents, costumes, decorations, even mince pies (Try going to your local baker now and saying you want 1,000+ a day every weekend in December and see what they say...). It's all got to be pre arranged. Christmas event planning usually starts around February Half Term (or earlier), Orders normally placed by July/August for the delivery of the non perishables about now and the rest on the day/s

    Getting anything 'organised' in such a short space of time would appear to have had to be done in a frantic rush. I just hope if they are intending to run they have got everything in order, the last thing the railway needs now is things to go wrong through lack of planning and have a lot of dissatisfied customers, making facebook and trip advisor comments - on top of everything else.
     
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  14. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Who and why? Why not set out your arguments about why some of the 10 are unacceptable. Evidence and argument. It is a pretty simple concept.
     
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  15. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    It seems to be another symptom of the WSR's problems is 'winning' or 'losing' an election. It's not a competition between the candidates (although from some of the comments published you'd think it was outright warfare sometimes) it's simply a case of who is selected by the members or not
     
  16. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The candidates are clearly in two camps.
    There are those (currently in place as trustees) who support the WSSRT's continuation as a separate entity, responsible for the museums and owning some stock, in whatever new structure the WSR ends up with. That could continue even in the extreme case where the PLC goes bust and the operating railway closes, although I think we all hope to avoid that outcome.
    And there are the new candidates who favour a merger with the WSRA as the easiest route to a new structure in which:
    - more sources of funding will be available,
    - the present PLC can continue to operate the railway under its existing authority, but with strategic control by the volunteers and armchair members, and
    - the enlarged charity (under whatever name) can continue to fulfill all the WSSRT's functions.
    Members should vote according to which of those visions they find more convincing.
     
  17. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    A question for @WSSRTcandidates , @Lineisclear and possibly others who have the relevant knowledge.

    So let's assume that a new charity is created (either from a merger or from starting from scratch). The charity then becomes a members' group and sets the direction of the railway plus all the other ideals that have been discussed.

    So how do we get from that situation, to the situation where the plc is a subsidiary of the charity and has to listen to the direction from it? Does the 20% shareholding achieve this, or is there some other route where the plc shares can be effectively nulled so that the charity has 100% ownership?

    What if someone else started buying up the penny parcels of shares until they held 20% (or even 21%)? I know this is unlikely, but then the SDJRT thought eviction was very unlikely, so best to try to think of all possibilities!

    TIA

    Keith
     
  18. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Dsscribed like that it really is a 'no brainer', imo. Why does everyone make it seem so complicated?
     
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  19. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Perhaps reference back to an excessive percentage of the previous 34,557 posts on this thread might go some way to answering that one! ;)

    I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping the current process will at last draw a line under the perennial internecine strife and result in the stable structures and clear vision for the future which this fine railway and it's many dedicated volunteers have deserved all along.
     
  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    The view from Station House, Stogumber has improved markedly today (Take 1).

    F4D49A14-7228-412B-995A-7ACBF2A34E3B.jpeg
     

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