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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    So much for not having enough motive power to satisfy an incoming railtour and 2 passenger services...............
     
  2. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    7822 and 7828 will double head the incoming railtour from BL to DN on Saturday
     
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  4. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    That both Manors are in use on the railtour.
     
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  5. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    It says the WSR are using 7828 and 7822 to take over the incoming rail tour from Bahamas. Something that 53808 could've done on its own...
     
  6. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    “What has the WSR to lose by trying ?” you ask wrt a new Chair and Board.

    IMHO at this moment everything. A new Board etc now would as a minimum cause a significant
    interruption and more likely chaos. The result almost certain ‘enforced’ receivership.

    (The WSR does not have a charity that can step in as per the Llangollen. The way back from
    receivership AFAIK would have to be via a ‘newco’ ? )

    If the railway survives the 2021/2 winter and commences services in the 2022 Spring then
    thoughts of change make possible sense.

    However where are these new directors, let alone Chair ?

    (As an aside: There is I submit an argument that says the last successful WSR Plc Chair
    was Dennis Taylor but perhaps his retirement coincided with the onset of changing
    times/markets/clientele etc etc )

    No, I am sorry; the best chance of WSR survival rests ( whether you like them or not ), in the
    short term, with the current Plc Board.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  7. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    This outside observer sees this as a choice between a rock and a hard place - the existing board may be as you describe them, but the appeal progress alone suggests that they are not exactly world beaters. I would also have to believe that any change would be so disruptive that even a world class board could not make a difference.

    As much to the point, if I were a shareholder, I'd be concerned about the implications for succession. In the thick of a pandemic, what you ask us to believe is that the board members are indispensable - precisely at a time when the chance of being unavoidably taken out of circulation are unusually high. That rings alarm bells - and I'm very conscious of @aldfort's repeated pleas for volunteers to step forward - and the lack of signs of take-up.
     
  8. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    The trouble is the current board are not exactly encouraging belief that they can navigate the next six weeks let alone six months hence the concern and the discussion. Your comment re a charity ... oh the irony that the WSR rejected the Bailey Report . I also presume you meant commences services in spring 2022

    just to repeat , when you have wsr volunteers privately sharing a climate of fear as they see what happens to any showing a view contrary to board line then the short list of potential candidates will remain incredibly short . There is an excellent Chair in waiting sat on the board having recently been appointed and someone who saved another heritage location . I suspect many would step forward to rally around them given a chance
     
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  9. FrankC

    FrankC Well-Known Member

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    This is not asked in an aggressive sense - I'm just interested: so what is the reason you don't feel happy answering these questions yourself? We know not who you are, where you come from or whether you represent anyone other than yourself (and those who "like" your postings). So let's say I'm "a good journalist" - I'm asking! If - for some reason - you don't want the world and his dog to know, then send me a PM.

    Frank Courtney (Director, but asking on his own account) who lives in Chippenham and doesn't have a dog.
     
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  10. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    However......on a positive note, if things go as planned tomorrow there will be 7822/28, 9351 and Llangollen escapee 5199 all hauling revenue earning trains.

    That must be something that gives heart to those who value the railway. No doubt, while I am there I will also see smiling faces and helpful staff. How that translates into the doom and gloom on here remains a mystery to me but as they say "there is no smoke without fire" and that's definitely true on a heritage steam railway. :)
     
  11. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    and that is the point .there is a good railway with fabulous volunteers who deserve better than what they are having to endure now
     
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  12. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    So the volunteers were entirely responsible for tomorrow’s planning without any Plc Board involvement ?

    ‘Sidmouth’, I remember your past posting i.e you had only visited the WSR twice ( each time something
    terrible happened. I commented at the time that it had undertones of Joyce, Phoenix Park and unstated
    happenings ) You also said at the time that you would not be concerned if the WSR ceased to exist.

    You cannot now even bring yourself to agree with ‘Big Al’ without stirring the pot.

    Very sad, Michael Rowe.
     
  13. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    My attention was caught by the following observation, part of a submission to the Rother Valley hearing by Stephen Oates of the HRA :
    "The majority of heritage railways are organised as trusts supported by commercial
    operating arms. As trusts, they have a significant educational role, with many being
    educational charities. Several have secured Arts Council England status as fully
    accredited museums."

    One could read that "supported by" as implying the Trusts receive income from their operating arms but, as we know, the cost of maintaining infrastructure will usually out run such income. No doubt the relationship between the bodies varies to some degree but I get the impression that many are operating with a setup similar to that which applied at the Llangollen where (roughly) the track and other infrastructure belong to the Trust with the locos and rolling stock belonging to the operating company. (Yes, I know it was slightly more complex than that, but I am using it an approximate example.) The result was that the majority of assets were protected from the insolvency of the company. It also enables the Trust to raise funds towards the maintenance of the infrastructure much more easily than a trading company can as it can apply for grants in area that are not readily open to commercial operators, and can also claim the tax rebate on donations.
    Is my understanding of this practice correct and, if so, why is it not considered a reasonable option for the WSR ?

    P.S. For those that missed it the HRA submission makes interesting reading and can be found at "https://gat04-live-1517c8a4486c4160...er_from_the_heritage_railway_association_.pdf" (with thanks to @jnc who posted it originally.)
     
  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    In case anyone is interested, here is an exchange between myself & the WSRHT Acting chair.

    I have removed my name & email address, also the WSSRT acknowledgement when I first wrote

    Dear Mr ................

    Thank you for your email to our WSRHT Information address. I am very happy to respond to the points you raise.

    Firstly, I am not sure what point you are trying to make about the use of the Trust shares in the PLC. We are always mindful of the need for the company to operate in terms of good governance and to date, there has been no evidence presented to the Trust that this has not been the case. If you feel that there is evidence of lack of good governance, I would be happy to receive it and consider its implications. When we receive the PLC 2021 AGM agenda and papers, the Trustees will determine how to vote as a major shareholder (as has been the case on previous occasions).

    With regard to the four individuals as volunteers on the WSR, the Trust was not in a position to take any action against them because we had no authority to do so either in relation to their volunteer status or their involvement with the West Somerset Railway Association. What the Trust did however do was to ask the PLC to formally investigate the events both before and leading up to the Trust 2020 AGM and to determine whether any action was required against any of the individuals as a result. The PLC determined that there was a case to answer in relation to the railway into disrepute.

    We understand that a disciplinary process has been underway for some time. We are aware of the outcome for some of the individuals and are awaiting confirmation of the completion of the whole process. Therefore, I can categorically tell you that the PLC has not "meddled" at all in Trust affairs. The actions of the four individuals in relation to the impact on the Trust and Trustees was both serious and totally unwarranted and you should be under no illusion that this behaviour was absolutely unacceptable in the context of a small charity and good decent people who are trying to do the best for both the charity and the WSR as a whole.

    Steve Williams
    Acting Chairman
    On 16:23, 4th Jul 2021,
    Dear WSRHT,

    As an armchair member I am watching the situation on the WSR with interest and concern.

    There are two issues with the trust that I am particularly interested in.

    1. The Trust holds a significant number of shares in the PLC. The trust has however stated that it does not intend to use its votes. I note that the general recommendation in the wider world is that shareholders should vote, and I also note that the WSRA has made decisions about how it will vote at PLC AGM's. It seems to me firstly that the Trust should be concerned to ensure the 'Good Governance' of the PLC and by saying at least that it might vote, may have a positive effect on the board. I might also suggest that as a major shareholder it would be polite to vote on issues such as approving the minutes, annual report and accounts.

    2. The PLC has taken disciplinary action against 4 WSR Volunteers who put themselves up for election at the last AGM. Whatever your views on the situation I can see that the Trust may have taken action against them after the meeting, however I am concerned that the PLC is in effect 'Meddling' in trust affairs and has no standing over the issue. I note that when the WSRA had its internal issues the PLC did not get involved until after the former trustees declined to comply with the recommendations of a HRA Adjudication, however the current situation is nowhere close to that.

    Yours Faithfully

    John
     
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  15. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Oh dear. That may well have a bearing on my impending renewal.
     
  16. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    johnofwessex said:
    In case anyone is interested, here is an exchange between myself & the WSRHT Acting chair.:
    (apols : the quote system couldn't cope with the long post !)

    Apart from the extraordinary action of passing his organisation's potential disciplinary problem over to another organisation to deal with, which seems to be totally unwarranted and somewhat underhand, why does Mr Stephens think that the action of the four members was "both serious and totally unwarranted and you should be under no illusion that this behaviour was absolutely unacceptable in the context of a small charity and good decent people who are trying to do the best for both the charity and the WSR as a whole." AIUI the four merely organised a number of people to put their names forward as potential trustees. An action which is completely legal, is fairly common practice, and is within the constitution of the Trust. That the existing Chair and Trustees didn't like it is understandable, but it is the nature of democracy, and should have been accepted without demure. The reference to "good decent people", implying that the candidates were not, is quite uncalled for and suggests that the writer has lost all sense of proportion. Time to retire perhaps ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  17. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Having been harrangued for offering no support, when I do so it is still wrong because I don't kowtow to the board line . If the board are involved in loco rostering when the main appeal flounders then frankly priorities are wrong and control is way too centralised .

    your belief in my stirring the pot is no different to your slavish loyalty to the board and belief that they will navigate this crisis . If the status quo is maintained then it isn't a case of If but when .

    you are right , I have visited twice , poor experience and never been back . Yes it was years ago and there is plenty elsewhere in preservation that has happily occupied my free time and made me welcome . So if the worst were to happen to the WSR , in the nicest sense there would be no void for me.

    I have repeatedly said that for the movement the failure of a major line should help crystalise better financial governance, longer term planning and the move to a sustainable future . Llangollen happened and the fall out , the impact, the hurt it caused , I would hope every boardroom should be doing everything in their power to make sure it doesn't happen
     
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  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    "I am writing on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Steam Trust to make a formal complaint with regard to the individuals listed above. It is our understanding that they are active WSR volunteers listed on HOPS and carrying ID cards and it is on that basis that the complaint is being made.

    Yours sincerely Steve Williams Acting Chairman On behalf of the Board of Trustees."

    I will let members judge the above words with those in Steve Williams response
     
  19. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  20. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that. PR is not a word that is understood at the WSR. They can't understand why we might be interested, but they do want our money! :rolleyes:
     
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