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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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    Ah, but isn't there a subtle difference here?

    I assume your niece is referring to anticipated savings generated by the successful implementation of whatever the appeal was for. For example an appeal for solar panels on the loco shed roof would result in an electricity saving, and this saving might be justifiable as an anticipated saving it is as a result of the appeal succeeding.

    Whereas the WSR have effectively found a few bob down the back of the sofa and chucked it into the collecting box. It's a saving regardless of the outcome of the appeal (except if the appeal fails, maybe the saving is academic anyway...)
     
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  2. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    What are/ were the underlying issues that lead to the decline of the WSR Passenger numbers, and what is being done to tap new markets, turn the numbers round?
    You can ask for donations, say your in dire need of help from your supporters, as much as you like, but if you don't deal with the issues, all you are doing is trying to fill an bottomless hole, next year, the hole is still there, with no ending in sight, if any thing its gotten deeper, the people who might have been able to come up with a plan, got thrown off the railway, because someone didn't like what they were being told, the secret of good management is knowing the strengths of those around you, and making best use of those strengths, not for your own glorification, but for whats best for the organisation,
    A one man band is limited to what that one persons capable of, Where as people working as a group, has a far greater capacity as several minds, are far greater than one,
     
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  3. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    The passenger numbers topic is more complex than you might expect. A few years ago, the count of bums on seats for a family ticket was corrected from 6 to 4. The old passenger number was probably a significant over-estimate but looked good in the headlines. There was also a significant element of wholesale tickets to a bus tour company so while those numbers padded out the story, the revenue per backside figure was eroded. Without being too precise, a fiver a head filling an otherwise empty seat was always better than nothing, and even more so if cash was spent on board and in the shops.

    The figure that really counts is the income divided by the variable operating costs i.e. the ratio of revenue to expenditure more commonly known as a cost / income ratio. Fewer passengers who pay a full fare but spend more on higher margin items such as tea, coffee are your target market. This only comes into play however where your capacity to carry passengers is capped. As long as there are available seats, pack them in but be wary of the arithmetic. Volunteers travelling on a jolly may pad out the numbers but if they buy lunch at the local chippy then their financial contribution for the journey is diddly squat.

    Anyhow, there are plenty of potential supporters out there who run successful businesses or have some serious commercial experience in the private sector. Perhaps the next iteration of the WSR will be a more welcoming environment but that seems to be a long way off at the present time.
     
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  4. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Oh Mr Porter!

    It’s feeling very 1960’s at Stogumber this morning as Hymek D7018 passes by light engine on its way to collect its train from Bishops Lydeard.

    48496896-CC60-4FFD-9856-13FA93DCBE78.jpeg
     
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  5. echap

    echap Member

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    That really is a superb photo and deserves to be seen as far and wide as possible to demonstrate what can be achieved at the WSR. I hope it appears in the railway press.

    Ed Chap
     
  6. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Thank you. Any plaudits belong to the DEPG for their superb (and photogenic) loco and the Stogumber station staff.
     
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  7. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Also to the photographer for the composition and for choosing the right instant.
     
  8. smithersmark600

    smithersmark600 New Member

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    As you will no doubt be aware by now the shunting is being carried out at Dunster and is proving to be a very smooth operation.
     
  9. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Very nice composition Robin, Just out of interest, back in the day, would you have seen an hymec LE on the branch, were there any freight workings where the engine may have returned to Taunton light engine ? by that time, normal passenger working would have been DMU, so would it only be through working to Butlins etc that would have brought loco hauled trains on to the branch?
     
  10. smithersmark600

    smithersmark600 New Member

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    There was a valid reason for those people/persons being 'chucked off the railway'
     
  11. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    AIUI the shunting was to be done actually at Dunster West siding rather than at the station itself, or has that changed ?
     
  12. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    would you care to justify that comment please
     
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  13. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

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    I'll not hold my breath waiting for that.

    Whilst it is a provocative statement, which of course may or may not be true* I'd be surprised if any of the staff, whether directly involved or not would reveal confidential personnel matters.

    *It would seem strange if all those who stood also happened to commit similar gross misconduct misdemeanours around the same time such that dismissal was necessary, but that is what is claimed...
     
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  14. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Is that the full extent of your argument ?
     
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  15. gios

    gios Member

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    Of course he can't. It is all rather tiring.

    This is the normal type of reply you can expect as a matter of course. An unsubstantiated, aggressive comment out of the blue accusing everybody else of something, anything.

    Expect more of the same as the current situation at the WSR unfolds.

    And they wonder why or wallets are closed.
     
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  16. Keith_Gold

    Keith_Gold Guest

    A lot more worthy causes out there asking for donations, Then the WSR, maybe letting it die in its current form. would be for the best.
     
  17. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    If it was justified then why did the PLC spend a very large sum on legal advise, , Advise that an employment law specialist went on to remark as being of a very poor standard ? One day, if the railway is going to have any future, people are going to have to come together, or see the line go the same way as Llangollen, so I would say that when that day comes, some very senior people with in the structure of the railway may find their positions as being Untenable, because they will rightfully be seen as being part of the problem, and not as part of the future of the railway,
     
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  18. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    The "gung-ho" style of management displayed of late at the WSR does not come without risk. If you keep pissing everyone off, save for a hard core of 'loyal' supporters, you risk being at a disadvantage when you require assistance in times of need. It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that the recent fundraising appeal has got off to a rather uninspiring start. If you decide to have a bit of public spat with your local MP, is it really surprising that he might not be fighting the WSR's corner as hard as he might be at Westminster?

    To put things in context, concerning 'chucking people off the railway', the heritage organisation to which I belong and have volunteered at for some fifty years has always had twice as many volunteers as the WSR, yet I can only recall some four or five expulsions since its inception and those for proven criminal activity or (very) gross misconduct. Try as hard as I might, I cannot reconcile standing for election to the Steam Trust, with either the heading of criminal activity or gross misconduct. Is the WSR just plain unlucky, or am I missing something?

    Andy
     
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  19. Another Yorkshireman

    Another Yorkshireman Member Friend

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    There is a fine art in using special offers. The Tesco Vouchers scheme [which was dropped in due course] looked like the customer was getting a bargain at Tesco's expense, as they could trade in a £ 5 Tesco Credit Voucher to get a £ 10 'spend at an attraction' voucher. In fact, the 'attraction' only got £ 5 back from Tesco. So the attraction was in effect giving half price travel and Tesco was not losing out. The issue is, would the people have come anyway [in which case it was bad business accepting the Tesco vouchers] or did we get additional travellers who also spent money in the shops and cafés ?
    The same could be asked about the 'Buy one get one free' and 'Buy one get one half price' tokens, which might have brought in new customers, but were also easily available in the Tourist Office opposite the station at Minehead, and even sometimes in the station booking office hall itself. so people could get the voucher and then turn up at the station when they were intending to come anyway. These were also dropped.
    These schemes would have shown a higher number of passengers but not a proportional rise in ticket income.
     
  20. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    As the original post by @smithersmark600 seems to have disappeared I'm not clear what he is referring to. The issue of the withdrawal of passes keeps being raised but it is not obvious whether there have been further outbreaks of passes being withdrawn from volunteers or whether there are only the original four from last year.
    Can somebody clarify, please ?
     

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