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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Keith_Gold

    Keith_Gold Guest

    Also a coincidence theres 3 143s at spm that have been rumoured to be coming to somerset
     
  2. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    So what?

    3 HST power cars have arrived on the SVR today (for paid storage).

    That fact is certainly not to everybody's liking but it has'nt meant that folk have started looking under every stone for a conspiracy theory.
     
  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That suggests context is all. The SVR is seemingly spared these internecine feuds and agendas; among the fringe benefits is that there isn't the fertile soil (manure?) for the conspiracy theories to thrive in.
     
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  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I suspect that this is to do with it being a well run organisation that is under a level of democratic accountability
     
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  5. LC2

    LC2 Member

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    In the run up to Christmas with Santa Specials and as was proven last year, Steam illumination trains (as long as you do it well) - and at the WSR, it shouldn't be full line length for either.
     
  6. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    I'm far from certain that everybody working on that line would agree with that statement.
     
  7. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    But presumably you accept that if you attach yourself to a regime at Director level, you are inescapably associated, by collective responsibility, with the standards set and actions taken by that regime?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
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  8. Selsig

    Selsig Member

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    Oh very much so, yes. I just don't like seeing attacks on a friend that seem to be based around the fact that he happens to be a director of a completely separate company. Plus I thought it might be worth chucking in a personal viewpoint of someone who largely hasn't had a great deal to do with the WSR, so probably isn't well known in those circles yet.

    John
     
  9. Keith_Gold

    Keith_Gold Guest

    think you will find those power cars are being recommissioned at kidderminster for use by colas on test trains

    then again not all of us know everything like you do
     
  10. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Well if the first bit is correct you know more than has been circulated by the SV as only the word "stabling" has been used. The second bit was unnecessary.
     
  11. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    That depends on your interpretation of 'viable'.
    I suppose houses, flats or apartments on the Minehead station site might bring in some one off funds (with enough to pay for a bare platform on the other side of Seaward Way maybe) and DMU's running a shuttle service between Minehead and Watchet (Calling at Blue Anchor?) with the rest of the line mothballed might just be considered 'viable' by some. (and I wonder what property developer would take the bulk of the profits from the development?)

    I have no faith in the "...collective ability of the board and its advisers to craft a viable future." for the railway as it is currently. They have not crafted a meaningful business plan, they have not crafted an inclusive atmosphere at the railway, nor have they crafted a well co ordinated staged return to normal services post lockdown. For goodness sake they have not even crafted a decent appeal package when the railway is supposed to be in desperate need of every single penny. So why should anyone believe they have the knowledge, skills, competence, ability or workforce support to craft any sort of future, let alone a viable one?
     
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  12. bluetrain

    bluetrain Well-Known Member

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    Some important points above from Mr Bailey, providing much food for thought (extracted from longer original post).

    It was a shock to me to see the assessment that the WSR may need a capital injection of several £M if it is to survive in its present form. The implication is that the WSR earnings are well short of what is needed (Turnover was quoted in the 2019/20 accounts as £2.85M, which does appear much less than some of the other major heritage railways). I do not recall seeing any proposals that might substantially increase WSR income. Costs have been saved by some staff reductions, and I think it was planned to reduce train mileage and make greater use of diesels. But Mr Bailey appears to indicate that he thinks more drastic changes will be needed.

    We can only speculate on whether, and how, the WSR might be made more sustainable. I seem to recall that, many months ago, a poster on this thread (not me!) suggested that following insolvency, the WSR might start again as a small scale operation akin to its original 1976 launch - small tank engines and DMUs operating a 4-mile line. That might cater for the needs of local holiday-makers, but will not match the ability of the 20-mile line to attract customers from a wide catchment area. Even a very modest operation will be difficult to re-establish following insolvency,, with no guarantee of success. The threat of a future cycle-way is very real.

    Turning to the need for fund-raising, early indications are that the WSR's current half-million pound appeal is falling well short of raising the sums expected. It may be that the WSR is short of expertise in this area, but there are other issues involved. Firstly, it seems bonkers to be trying to raise large sums without the benefit of the gift aid that is available to fund-raising by the WSRA & WRSHT. Secondly, potential donors are only likely to favour organisations who engender trust and goodwill. The WSR has forfeited much goodwill as a result of its actions against the S&DRT and others. If the future of the WSR is critically dependent on the success of the major fundraising task, then the PLC leadership needs to stand aside from the exercise.
     
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    By their fruits shall you know them.
     
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  14. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    If you insist on that pre condition then neither have I. In all probability the cumulative effect of under investment starting long before the present board took office means no board, however constituted, could deliver that outcome. Heritage railways must, like any other species, adapt to their changing environment if they are to survive. The drivers of change may be financial, regulatory or demographic but the one constant is change. Those that adapt may survive. Those that do not will become extinct. Viability and insisting that the railway must stay the way it is seem to me to be irreconcilable aims.
     
  15. goldfish

    goldfish Resident of Nat Pres

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    *cough* Bridgnorth Station development *cough*

    ;)

    Simon
     
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  16. gios

    gios Member

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    AND the result of some very open and heated discussion and persuasion - some on NP, is the Bridgnorth Station we have today. Incidentally the final plan resulted in oversubscription to the funding appeal! A credit to all who felt the original proposals fell far short of what was required. There is another new station not too far away from the SVR who went through a similar and productive process. There was also back in the mists of time a SVR Chairman, ex MP and Headmaster who's name was Nabarro who had intentions to sell Bridgnorth Station for development. He was turfed out by the combined action of members and officials. Incidentally, Nabarro also shared the personal weakness of referring to the SVR as 'his railway'. No one man is bigger than the Railway

    Of course there are disagreements and differing points of view. The important thing is that resolution brings change and in retrospect outcomes show positive results that have benefited the Railway.

    If only the same positive outcomes could be found in Zomerzet through similar processes.
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    A good journalist will ask you in what capacity you are speaking and how you should be identified/affiliated. If they don't then you should tell them, especially if you need to distinguish between roles, capacities and perspectives. Am I speaking as a representative of an organisation and giving the organisation's view, or am I speaking as an expert on topic x but not speaking for the organisation. Clarity and transparency is everything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  18. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Although I rarely find myself in agreement with John Bailey, on this occasion I am and if the WSR is to survive I think the readjustment process will be brutal. Getting through the next winter will be crucial and I expect there to be unavoidable savage cost cutting measures, including most if not all of the paid staff, at the end of the running season - if I was an employee there I think I see this as inevitable. The railway will have to become essentially volunteer run, along similar lines to the GWSR, and it seems pretty obvious that the current PLC Board will need to be replaced by a more volunteer-orientated one, and at that point perhaps sufficient donations will start to flow in to keep whatever creditors there are at bay and allow for the needed investment in the track. I also suspect that the supporters will have to steel themselves to facing up to the sale of one or both of the PLC-owned locomotives with the line becoming reliant, at least in the short term, on hired-in motive power.

    If there is a crumb of comfort to be had, it is that the Llangollen Railway have gone to the brink and survived and their current mixed offering of DMU and steam seems to be doing OK for them - perhaps this will be a model for the WSR in the short term.
     
  19. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    So just to be quite clear Ian, you and your fellow WSSRT trustees were aware that the SDRT's objectives were different from your own and that they could therefore not support the plc's begging bowl appeal in the same way? Yet the trust then stood back (with the WSRA it must be added) and said nothing about the eviction? That is quite disgraceful.
     
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  20. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I took the "it" in gwilialan's "as it is currently" to refer to the PLC Board, not the railway. A viable future for the Railway may require some drastic economies along the lines suggested in post #39338; but many of us here believe that it also requires a new Board, with different policies and priorities. The snag is, as has been pointed out, the determination of the present Board to stay in place, by fair means or (often) foul.
     
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