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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Yes it is running out of cash that does for companies. It's perfectly possible to make losses for year but not run out of cash, but also to make profits but go bust due to cash shortage.
     
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  2. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I doubt if many commercial companies let alone heritage railways could have cash reserves of those magnitudes.
     
  3. toplink

    toplink New Member Friend

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  4. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Allow me to correct your misunderstanding. I was asked to facilitate an agreed solution to the dispute over Washford and the immediate future of 53808. As the result of good will on both sides a way forward was found. In addition, and in a personal capacity, I offered suggestions about the future corporate structure of the PLC which have since been, at best, deferred . As you would expect I believe that's a missed opportunity.

    Wishing that things were other than they are is pointless e.g "if only the board stepped aside". Maybe things would be different but I accept the fact that the PLC owns and controls the railway. That doesn't mean that I agree with the way it does it.

    I sensed at the outset that there are those who believe that if the PLC were to fail it would be possible for the railway to continue in some alternative guise. I have seen nothing to persuade me that would be the case. Like any company the PLC is managed by its directors. That's what its constitution mandates. Whether they are good at it or not doesn't alter that. Unless the requisite percentage of PLC shareholders can table a resolution to remove them by a vote at a General Meeting the destiny of the railway is in the hands of the current PLC board directors. For the moment there's no avoiding the fact that helping the railway survive and prosper inevitably means helping the PLC to do so.
     
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  5. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I believe the Charity Commission recommendation is at least three months turnover.
    It was instructive ( and encouraging) to see that in the recent Covid Recovery Fund grants administered by Arts Council England ( in contrast to those administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) the approved purposes include restoration of reserves to quite a high level.
     
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  6. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    When, last year, the group of WSRST members attempted to get elected, one of the key reasons was to gain control of the steam trust's PLC shares, in order that the combined voting power of the trust and the association in order to bring change at the PLC. You were vociferous in your opposition of the 'hostile takeover', and expressed your confidence in the PLC board and its chairman. Evolution not revolution, that's the way to bring real change seemed to be the mantra.
    And look, here we are, six months on. and the steam trust has a new name
     
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  7. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    The Membership of the Trust were not persuaded by the arguments of the group and failed to be elected by a majority of over 2/3rd of those who voted. The proposed trustees set out thier stall and it was rejected.

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    That is the workings of the democratic process and I accept the result.

    BUT why then did the PLC find it necessary to take disciplinary action against 4 of those who stood for election?

    It may have been in ordr for the WSHRT to have done so but it looks suspiciously like the PLC getting involved in the internal affairs of another organisation, and comes back to the somewhat unusual behaviours that seem to be tolerated in West Somerset.
     
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  9. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    It is my understanding that much of that £1M is to cover operating costs, which rather suggests that, if they don't get it, they will be heading towards insolvency.
    True, but irrelevant to the point in hand, which was @Lineisclear 's views prior to that election.
     
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  10. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    There are, however scenarios where we end up with the same Plc, but a different board of directors. I think it is now pretty clear that the problem of the condition of the track, which, it appears, was the original cause of the ORR's concern, (as an aside, I think that the culture of hiding the bad news until it is forced into the open, whilst it may be sensible for a normal company that has its share price to worry about, is a very bad idea for a company that relies on donations to survive), has always been a disaster waiting to happen, given the failure of successive boards to have an adequate programme of renewals. It is this problem that resulted in the defenestration of the previous board and the appointment of the current board, who are now in a position of asking for £1M just to keep going, and that is after they got £860,000 from the COVID recovery fund. That doesn't look like success in any way, shape or form, nor can anyone blame COVID, as other railways appear to be coping without asking for such large sums of money.
    That is all true, however, that doesn't mean that helping the current board of directors stay in position is necessarily helping either the Plc or the railway to survive and prosper.
     
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  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    True, but not the whole truth. The presentation of the consequences from the incumbents was somewhat hysterical, there were attempts to avoid it even being discussed, and there was far from an even playing field in the presentation of the matter.

    History, it is sometimes said, is written by the victors; let’s make sure that’s a full account.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  12. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    It is their recommendation and has been for sometime. Whether it is feasible for a plc that operates a heritage railway to have a figure equivalent to one years turnover in cash reserves and still carry out all the necessary repairs and overhauls is another matter.
     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    That is a true and helpful statement of the situation, but I cannot "like" the post because the situation is a very unfortunate one, as indeed Lineisclear seems to acknowledge.

    Many of us on here believe that the WSR has no long-term future without a change of PLC management, but it is hard to see any mechanism for achieving that. In the previous WSRA round of shenanigans, the reformers eventually succeeded in evicting the incumbents, but only after a lot of work to spread the word to enough of the WSRA membership, and more than one EGM. At the time of the (then) WSSRT's AGM, the PLC's Board intervened in what was properly none of their business to prevent the WSSRT's shareholding being used to gain control and allow progress towards restructuring according to the Bailey plan or something like it. With the shareholdings so widely spread, the Board controlling information to those shareholders who are contactable at all, and their opposition to any change of structure in the foreseeable future clearly stated, the argument for holding our noses and supporting them has some merit. Against that there is our fear that donations will fall far short of what is needed and that whatever does come in will not be spent wisely, thus only delaying the final collapse.

    As far as I can see there is no right answer but, out of the wrong answers, a quick and merciful death, which could followed by a slow resurrection and a new TWO, might be better than a slow death leaving no assets at all for a new organisation to take over.
     
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  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Have been looking at the timetables offered by the WSR beyond the end of COVID restrictions and it really is hard to make sense of what they are doing.

    Take the red timetable in August. You can travel from BL to Minehead/ Dunster but trains don't call at Watchet. So whilst I've read the comments about most people travelling the length of the line I don't get why an intermediate stop isn't offered at a place where you could spend time rather than at the end of the line.

    Is it a staffing issue as it definitely can't be to do with the train pattern?
     
  15. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It does seem odd. As Watchet is a 'tourist desination' in it's own right, you'd have to suppose there's a very specific reason.

    For those unfamiliar with the locale, a couple of piccies:

    download.jpeg-3.jpg
    [Central Watchet. Image courtesy West Somerset Railway]

    download.jpeg-4.jpg
    [Watchet Old Town. Image courtesy Trip Advisor]
     
  16. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I think their idea is that you only want to visit Watchet from the Minehead end.
    Excursion 3/4 -
    3 is to Watchet @ £80
    4 to Bishops Lydeard @£100.

    Nothing the other way as you say.
     
  17. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    If the worst happens then there will be two camps. Those who tried to alter the course of the ship and those who insisted that the captain knew what he was doing.

    Can you tell me how large a bill has been accrued for external consultants running the kangaroo courts ? I would say "spent" however I suspect the odds of hired henchmen being paid is slim to nil.
     
  18. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    So the passengers from BL only want to go to Minehead, where there is a beach, but not to Watchet, where there is the sea, but no beach, or at least, not a sandy one. However, passengers from Minehead, where they have a sandy beach, want to go to Watchet, where they don't.
     
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  19. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Thats why in my post , i said there would need to be an EGM for each supporters group needed to remove the yes men, who just did what the PLC wanted, and did not change course, , then and only then, could the organisations be merged, and a unified organisation prehaps try to save whats left, , I remain convinced that with SCC holding the freehold and wanting a public service to remain, the likily end result will be that they will approach the government to allow funding for network rail to take the line back into public ownership and for GWR to operate an 2 hourly, hourly service in summer, the Turntable and sidings , might be of interest to Vintage Trains who might eye up an summer Somerset coast express simular to the Torbays from Birmingham to Minehead, using the yard and turntable to turn the engine, and service the stock, or Bristol to Minehead, If Birmingham is too long a run.
     
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  20. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    But what about passengers from Watchet, who have no beach but do have a harbour with boats (and also a Museum or two), who may want to go to Minehead, which does have a beach but not really many boats in their harbour? :)
     

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