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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    Please read the thread. Not easy, but its been covered.

    Commercial use of weedkiller is fraught with regulations and restrictions and a non starter for volunteers.

    And whilst I abhor the tone of a response to your earlier post, I have much sympathy with the sentiment behind it.

    Many volunteers have spent many hours doing a superb job of keeping the track clear of weeds.

    A thankless task which you should not denigrate

    Edited to correct inaccurate reference to poster
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
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  2. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    Nobody made anyone do anything. The use of chemicals is governed by health and safety legislation. It would be illegal for the Railway to give the volunteer a watering can and some weed killer and tell them to get on with it.

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
     
  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think it was confirmed first time around that @smithersmark600 is not the same Mark Smith that you saw me exchange comments with on Facebook before they all mysteriously disappeared earlier today...
     
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  4. Mike S

    Mike S Member

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    @aldfort I thought your comments on Farcebook were constructive and factual earlier on today. Surprise surprise within no time at all an admin, after letting earlier discussions about chucking the 'ten' off the railway run without issue, shuts the hatch on the bunker and turns off commenting.

    Nothing new there then.
     
  5. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    Ah, thank you Alex. I believe I recall that now you mention it.

    Apologies to Mark Smith, in that case.
     
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  6. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    the thread highlighting Chris Austin's planned resignation at the AGM and its weaponising to create sympathy for the trust remains though
     
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  7. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Simple. The shares may have little financial value but as long as the plc exists in its present form the shares are of strategic value to the Trust since they carry about 10% of the votes at a plc General Meeting.
     
  8. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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    Are they stated as 10%, special shares or just so many hundred standard? With each release of shares by the Plc since these were obtained would the % not be diluted by now?
     
  9. alastair

    alastair Member

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    But isnt that exactly what The Platform http://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm#2201 seeks to do? As a shareholder, each edition has been emailed to me.

    OK, it's not great but maybe a start?
     
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  10. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Thank you. Much clearer now. The members still have their say to the Trust but the Trust can then temper / amend / revise the more outrageous requests (demands?) and pass on the more sensible ones to the Plc for action.

    There is always the problem though of who is allowed to stand for senior positions at an AGM. If the Articles say any member or shareholder proposed and (if necessary) seconded by other members can stand then, if they are elected that is it. You cannot refuse them on the grounds of not knowing specific business skills - the members / shareholders have spoken. You have no choice, you get what the members / shareholders give you.

    Now, in some instances this can be a good thing. Having worked in various areas of engineering all my working life I can assure you that the great majority of managers come from the various office disciplines and while some have tried hard to understand the engineers there are many who never ventured through that (metaphoric) door into what they perceived as the dirty, noisy, smelly world of the engineers, believing them to be upstarts who need to be kept in their place because they will never know how to run a company because they don't know finance or HR or anything. They don't recognise the engineers input to tender specifications against a limited budget, cost benefit analyses, controlling manufacturing costs, setting operational budgets, personnel selection and resource allocation, dispute resolution etc. etc. etc.

    So it has to be a balance of all the professional skills. Two engineering companies that I worked for no longer exist. Neither had any engineers on the Board. 'Management' believed in cutting manufacturing costs by reducing staff, not holding stock and not investing a penny in workshop equipment. Then they wondered why production times were extended, deadlines couldn't be met and quality suffered etc etc and in the end the customers went elsewhere. Another used to 'fast track' graduates (I wonder how many out there cringed when you read that? :() into management positions. They even sent them on expensive management training courses... And they had a motto:-"You don't need to know what you are managing to be a manager":eek: They were a useless waste of money. Oh OK they could do spreadsheets and knew all the jargon but couldn't manage a bun fight in a bakery to be polite.

    So what's the point of all this? Simply to say that a so called 'manager', no matter how qualified he or she is, does not know (and will never have the time to find out) what exactly is going on 'at the coal face'. To put a candidate down simply because they don't have the correct piece of paper or their CV doesn't tick all the right boxes is foolish at best and at worst degrading and insulting to the individual. Managers who ignore those who do know what is going on do so at their peril.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
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  11. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    I agree it's a start, especially for an overview of the railway as a whole.

    But I'm not entirely convinced that the plc contribution is as open as it might be. For example the mention that all was rosy after the ORR visit appeared not to be borne out by what others said subsequently.

    I'm in no position to know which version is right, but when the article merely says all is ok then spends time outlining the role of the ORR, rather than covering any detail of the visit, it does seem a bit simplistic and propogandist in nature.
     
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  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Then clearly you have neither read the reports explaining why it was considered impractical to hire the weed-control contractors this year, not have you seen the many, many pictures on www.wsr.org.uk of the results from all the hard work by the wedding teams.
     
  13. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly. As I suggested you need a mix of skills and experience including the hands on practical. Whatever your background there is also huge benefit in regular visits to talk with those at the coal face especially to listen. Something I always tried to do but, sadly, a forced move 200miles away makes infrequent these days .
    Perhaps surprisingly, I suggest an effective board also needs "disruptors ". Not people who are instinctively negative and opposed to change but who are prepared to challenge and question.
     
  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    'The reasonable man adapts himeself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.'

    George Bernard Shaw

    (or woman)
     
  15. mvpeters

    mvpeters Member

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    To C of T & others

    Weeds - or lack thereof:
    You might like to review the 188 photos here: http://cgibin.wsr.org.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?h=Picture+search&q=weed
    The vast majority show the dozens of Volunteers & teams involved in clearing miles of track, in all weathers, during the latter part of 2020.
    I suppose you could say that many of the Volunteers are 'wedded to weeding'.
     
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  16. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Standard. ‘About 10%’ was the amount said to be at stake in the recent trustee election. As you say, this will be diluted when new shares are issued; or maintained/increased if more people donate their shares to the Trust, either in their wills or beforehand, which is how the Trust came by much of their current holding.
     
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  17. City of truro fan

    City of truro fan New Member

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    It looks like they were trying to wear the volunteers out so they don’t notice what’s going on
     
  18. bluetrain

    bluetrain Member

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    I would not have used the term "disruptors", but I think that a Board needs to have a mix of folk with a range of different backgrounds, experiences and outlooks (quite apart from any necessary specialist competences), so as to ensure that doubtful ideas and proposals are challenged in the way you suggest. If a Board simply consists of a small group of like-minded people, maybe specially selected because they will work well together and always agree, then it will facilitate quick and firm decision-making, but increase the risk of those decisions being wrong.
     
  19. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Dont get hung up on the word. Dont think 'Klingon Disruptors.' It's a fairly colourful word from management theory and means those who will look at any given situation and question the status quo which others will be happy with.

    A practical example from my railway history. I was specifically recruited to manage Bristol in 1989 where the operating was tired and stale.

    On my first day I sat in 'Bonaparts' cafe at BTM and watched the station working. A north-east to south west inter regional HST rolled in about 20 late. It sat there with pretty much nothing happening for 10 minutes and left the same 20 late. I went to ask the staff, including the Duty Station Manager, why the train had not made up 10 minutes. It turned out that many of these services were booked a 10 minute stop at Bristol for Royal Mail to load and unload mails. But there had been no sign of the posties. 'Why didnt you gain 10 minutes?' I asked . 'Oooo, 'as to 'ave its toime' was the answer. 'Well, I answered, trains like that will gain 10 minutes at BTM from tomorrow.' 'But boss, thaaas not the woi we do things at Brissle' I was told. 'Well, I said, it is from tomorrow.'

    And lo and behold, the timekeeping at Bristol started to improve...

    A 'Disruptor' at work...
     
  20. 34015

    34015 New Member

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    Strange that some other railways cope quite happily with trained volunteers and managed to undertake a comprehensive weed killing program earlier in the year.
     

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