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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Following which line of thought, if I were managing that budget, I might not be heartbroken - resignation costs less than redundancy. Of course, taking such a heartless view would require me to ignore the other costs associated with people upping sticks and leaving.
     
  2. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I'm sorry but that is one of the most ill advised posts I've seen on here. What's suggested is that if they can't work on 53808 the staff would be sitting around twiddling their thumbs. It's quite possible, indeed likely, that there would be other work to justify their continued employment. The word "disgraceful" has been used on here a number of times. In this case the unwarranted sowing of fear when you can't possibly know what the potential alternative workload is justifies its use.
     
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  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    A world of difference indeed.

    I'd suggest that the run and overhaul was predicated on a high degree of trust between the S&DRT and WSR PLC when the contract was signed and there was little to forewarn the S&DRT that circumstances would change.

    I note that people have suggested overhaul and run - but I think the PR-Grinsty case shows that unscrupulous managements can also abuse this kind of agreement.

    As @30854 and also Pete Waterman have suggested the days of Gentleman's Agreements are over and perhaps the lesson that comes out of this discussion is that you shouldn't trust anyone in heritage rail.

    That said, I suspect that the people you are writing contract for generally have more resources available to enforce contracts, most societies/groups don't have the resources to make sure contracts are enforced. Court cases such as PR-Grinsty have rarely ended well.
     
  4. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    That's a ridiculous suggestion and quite appalling. All you are doing is creating fear among the shed staff.
    All posters on this forum are well advised to remember that there are human beings at the end of your "clever" postings.
    There is no suggestion whatsoever that the WSR will fail to pay its wagebill and any suggestion to the contrary is just speculation.
    Ian Coleby
     
  5. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    On the subject of the fate of of human beings and creating fear.

    Can I ask a question? As a trustee of the WSSRT did you approve/agree with the WSSRT asking the PLC to take action against those who stood for election?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
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  6. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    There is another option, that they could do that routine work at virtually no cost to themselves, but they choose not to, either out of bloody mindedness (I don't have to do this, so I won't), or to maximise the revenue-earning potential of the workshops.
    I am afraid that ethics have changed since the contract was entered into. It used to be "What ought I to do?", but now is it "What can I get away with doing, or not doing?"
     
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  7. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    One of the strong points of the WSR recently has been contract work on both locos and rolling stock.

    Recent examples are work on MK1’s for the DFR & PBR. There were also contract repaints for 7752 & 5199 and work is ongoing on 6024, with 1466 also at the WSR for completion of its overhaul which indicates retention of engineering staff is viable.
     
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  8. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I think we will just have to see how things pan out with 53808 owned by the SDRT. Perhaps a lot will depend on the next WSR PLC accounts and how 53808 is dealt with within those accounts.
     
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  9. Keith_Gold

    Keith_Gold Guest


    Lets hope after they raised funds to remove everything there's enough left for a decent lawyer.

    on the removal hope they are gutting the site,
    Eg taking their track and shed with them too.

    effectively salting the earth
     
  10. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    There's no point in spending money on lawyers when there's no money to be had even if they win the court case.
     
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  11. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Why do you always seem to make it appear to be so difficult for anyone to achieve anything other than what the board are currently saying/doing?

    As to the size of damages awards and legal fees I refer you to actions taken and full damages awarded at at railway in Derbyshire over the last year or so.

    So how is suffering legal action for breach of contract in the best interests of any company?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  12. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    Membership : Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust (sitewizard.co.uk)

    The membership is purchased via the online shop, which is quite an original feature (other methods are available). I would urge lots of forum members who are not members to consider joining. If you love 53808 and all it represents of the old SDR, and much else besides, to help us over a very difficult period!
     
  13. MarkinDurham

    MarkinDurham Member

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    Can I please add my thanks to the working members of the WSR who made us railtour folk so welcome on Saturday. I had very pleasant chats with several people at both BL and Watchet. (And Watchet itself was fascinating). I agree with Big Al's comments regarding loading of the service trains seen though - somewhat worrying, I think?
     
  14. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but quite a good deal for the railway, especially if the board are lacking in ethical standards. Except that other loco owners will have learned a lesson from this episode. I'd have reservations about lending the board my toenail clippings.
     
  15. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I have followed the recent 53808 saga with a mixture of sadness and disgust.

    It was 53808 that first brought me to the WSR over 40 years ago now. No locomotive has more connection with the line and meant more to we old stagers and those at Minehead loco who took such great care of ‘88’.

    And it has (likely) been thrown away on a whim by dishonourable and thoughtless actions where co-operation, community and commitment could have solved the financial challenges.

    On heritage railways trust, confidence and integrity is more significant than commerce, contract and legality.

    2E818AFC-83EC-4F20-83DD-E24D06892086.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  16. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps neither of you has noticed that the number of locomotives that the MPD at Minehead is responsible for maintaining has shrunk dramatically in recent times - if the line is so strapped for cash I'm surprised that "economies" haven't been sought in the light of that and I'd be astonished if the staff themselves hadn't had thoughts on those lines.

    What happens if the £1M appeal flops - it hasn't exactly got off to a flying start! (usually appeals start well and tail off) - and the threatened survival of the railway predicted comes to pass, will they will keep their jobs? They only have to look to the former home of Foxcote Manor and 5199 to see the answer to that. I don't think it is irresponsible to point out what they already know. What is irresponsible is for a discredited and incompetent board to continue leading them down the road to failure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  17. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    There certainly is!

    Any director who thinks it will be cheaper to break a contract than perform it must expect his company to be successfully sued for such breach. In that case the rule in principle will be that his company will have to pay the injured party's legal costs in addition to its own. The aggregate sum in costs to be borne by the defaulting company may very well run to a six-figure sum. This means that if the company is to achieve a net gain by breaking the contract then the sum in damages it has to pay has to be less than the cost of performing the contract minus both parties' anticipated legal costs. Put in slightly different terms, the saving achieved by breaking the contract must take account of the (six-figure) premium in legal costs to be paid in order to achieve that saving. And of course, the greater the difficulty in quantifying the correct sum in damages, the greater the legal costs are likely to be, and the more such a costs component is likely to affect the director's risk-reward calculus.

    It may be possible to establish the cost of performing the contract and the likely upper and lower bounds of any damages award for its breach. Even so, the uncertainty of the aggregate costs plus damages burden the defaulting company is going to have to pay, coupled with the distinct possibility that such costs will run to six figures, seems likely to leave very few cases in which a director could say with confidence that breaking the contract is going to save the company money. That seems to me all the more likely to be true when the prospective saving in damages represents only a proportion of a locomotive overhaul contract's overall costs of less than £1M.

    For this reason the likelihood of it forming part of a director's duty to break a contract in the present context appears remote.
     
  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I still believe the actions of the PLC board will in time be a thing most of the volunteer's , and paid staff will come to regret, It can't be easy for them, they love what they rightfully see as their railway, and it is their railway, they put in the hard work, some for many , many years,
    53808, Is I believe lost to the railway, for good, and a clean break, is whats best in everyone's case, she has a good home at MHR, and the trust have been made welcome, It's time to move on, At least its a secure home, which can't be said of the WSR right now, if the PLC can change policy at whim, and the financial future is certainly un certain, So what can the WSR do to secure its future,
    It owns 2 engines and much of the operational coaches, I would say the number one priority has to be to sell these, to remove them from the assets list,
    Sell them to the WSRA, and WSRHT, Instead of saying to the charities, we need your money, why not ask them to fund raise to between them buy whats valuable the coaches and engines will be safe, they can still be operated, the PLc gets the money, it says it needs, i would even find out about transferring the LRO to one of the charities', people will react better to something that is about securing your future, that way you can live to right past wrongs, and move forward, The PLC can not be trusted to secure the future as it currently stands, both the supporting charities have to find common ground, this personal vendetta has to be put on ice, and if people can't do that, they should be side lined, ideally, i would say the people most involved on both sides, i'm talking charity trustees, the PLC chair, should for the sake of the railway, the thing they all say they love , step aside and stand down, assuming the finances can be turned round, if it can't whats the legacy they all leave? a railway, that properly managed certainly could have thrived, lost because person ambition and vendettas to them were more important than doing whats right, its what happens when small people try to fill big chairs they can never do it.
     
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  19. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Mmmmmh, try running one without the latter and see how long it lasts. Heritage railways are rather odd places where most people with serious commercial experience tend to perform tasks that are a world away from what they know, such as descaling metal or shovelling muck. On the flip side of the coin, individuals who have never operated in a proper commercial environment often suffer from the "older I get, the better I was" syndrome and think they know it all. They suddenly find themselves at the controls of a small to medium size business and do not have a clue. A lifetime of working for the NHS or the civil service is no preparation for managing a commercial business with consequences, and by the time they know they're in trouble, it's often too late.
     
  20. 34015

    34015 New Member

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    Read minute 474 and make your own mind up.

    Minutes-of-Board-meeting-of-22-October-2020.pdf (wssrt.co.uk)
     
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