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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    What i meant was a hostile takeover of the PLC, BY someone getting themselves elected to the board, then becoming chair and throwing out most of the then board members and installing people who he could manipulate into giving him having total power,
     
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  2. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    Surely Boards elect their Chair ? ( and by definition can deselect ). not forgetting being subject
    to shareholder approval or not.

    In my book a Chair’s powers are; Set ( or approve ) Board Meeting agenda, Chair Board Meeting and approve
    subsequent minutes. The Chair also has a castingvote at said meeting. ( In other respects he reflects the Board. ) and
    additionally Chairs inter alia the AGM.

    Combining in effect the Chair with Chief Operating Officer IMHO is to be avoided.

    ( In the past USA experiences of one individual combing Chair and CEO invariably did not end well )

    Michael Rowe.

    p.s. IMHO I think the past appointment by the Bluebell of Dick Fearn and now as his successor ( after
    Graham Flight’s interregnum) Geoff Mee wise.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
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  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    While I regard Martin's comment as a flight of fancy, the operation of process (which I agree is as you describe) can be anywhere between a takeover and the most natural succession planning. There are significant differences between the feel of what happened in west Somerset in 2018, and what has just happened on the Bluebell.

    You also mention the role of chairman relative to other senior leaders. What you describe is orthodoxy in large businesses, but is I suggest of questionable application in small organisations where resources of all kinds (including labour and talent) are in limited supply. Equally pertinent, I observe that the Chairman of the Board of the WSR plc does appear to be fulfilling both operational and non-operational around the board - something that taking you at face value would seem unable to end well.
     
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  4. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    I have gained "public money" to help my social enterprise through COVID and there is no requirement for me to tell anyone else about the application or how it was spent.

    I don't understand why people think they are somehow entitled to this information. It may answer questions you have, but the practicalities and commercial sensitivity heavily out weight your inquisitiveness.
     
  5. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Agreed; the accountability is through the grant giver and their monitoring of how grants are used, not public scrutiny of the recipients.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    And that is exactly the question. How is the PLC accountable to the trust/association for the funds it has received.
    This whole tosh about the government cash is just more smoke to obscure the actual problems of accountability
     
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  7. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    This is the classic politician's trick of answering another question to the one that was asked. We are talking about money from the public, from donors' own pockets, not "public money" from government coffers. The donor may not have a right to know what their money will be spent on, but as sure as **** they are going to be less likely to donate if they are not given that information.
     
  8. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I agree, while it may not be a right, it is surely reasonable someone donating to an appeal would want to know where the money they have given is to be used, commercial sensitivity doesn’t apply when publicly asking for money.
     
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  9. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    If you check the thread, you'll see that I was responding to 61624's post which specifically referred to the recovery grants.

    There is a big difference between wanting details of fundraising so you can decide whether to donate, or expecting details of how the money will spent over and above the original fundraising announcement.
     
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  10. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    This post from richards more than accurately sums up the attitude of the world wide heritage railway supporting fraternity in one simple and acidly accurate post.

    Although I'm based outside of the UK, I keep in close touch with former BR and NR colleagues via the wonders of frequent, almost daily, Internet group chats. Some colleagues are still located in the UK whilst others, such as myself, are based internationally. However, we all have a number of things in common. Professional rail experience and a passionate interest in UK heritage railways.

    Last night's on-line discussion was mainly about the WSR and its appeal for funds to ensure its survival. The general consensus of opinion was that none of my colleagues, as much as they loved the WSR, would at the present time ever consider donating to a heritage railway that was as disgracefully managed in the way that the WSR is.

    Some of my friends went so far as to express a degree of contempt for certain WSR connected individuals in Somerset - using language that would probably get me banned from NP were I to post same.

    It is time, before it is too late, for those in power at the WSR to realise that the heritage rail supporting world, outside of Weston Super Mare and Minehead, does not consist of idiots with deep pocket that are laden with cash. People rarely consider donating towards organisations / grifters that fail to provide the accurate information which contributes towards them making the decision whether or not to to donate.

    I would suggest that richards posting is made the main topic of the next meetings held by the WSR the WSRPLC and the Puppet Heritage Trust.

    Jamie.
     
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  11. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    However @61624 was responding to a post of yours, where you were conflating COVID recovery grants and the WSR appeal and where you said:
    This is what I meant by the "classic politicians' trick". First you say that the WSR appeal is the same as the recovery grants, which it isn't, then you claim that because there is no right for the public to know about the details of the COVID grants, this applies to the WSR appeal, which it doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  12. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is very simple. If they won't answer my questions, they won't get my money!
     
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  13. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Same as the majority of people then, maybe the WSR board will realise this before it’s too late rather than ignoring this fact given they must know by now, not just from posts on here (which board members certainly read), but in the wider social media world and beyond.
     
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  14. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Getting honest, and clear answers out of any PLC director is certainly an art in Somerset and all the time questions remain unanswered, or the answers are not anything to do with the question that was asked of them, people will remain unconvinced, and this give us your money, or we will fall, and it will be your fault, message that seems to be behind the appeals, is hardly the way to win people over, and of course, you can't help but tie in the fact that the chairman, just happens to own two engines that might just benefit if the line's axle loading is increased, further increasing his ability to dictate policy over locomotives, If they were to be based on the line,
     
  15. Martin Fuller

    Martin Fuller New Member

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    This point hasn't previously been made perhaps because its nonsense? To give the SVR as just one example, privately owned locomotives include: (and without going into the industrials)
    5164, 7812, 7802 - Erlestoke Manor Fund
    813 - GWR 813 preservation fund
    1501 - 1501 Pannier Tank Association
    2857 - 2857 Society
    34027 - Phil Swallow
    43106 - Ivatt Class 4 Group
    75069 - 75069 Fund
    4566 - 4566 Group
    47383 - Manchester Rail Travel Society
    48773 - Stanier 8F Locomotive Society Ltd
    80079 - Passenger Tank Fund
    1450 - Push Pull Ltd
    4150 - 4150 Fund
    42968 - Stanier Mogul Fund
    82045 - The 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust

    The NYMR is similarly supported by closely affiliated groups/individuals, including ironically(!) 61624, owned by the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust.

    MPD staff have done a lot of paid contract work on both 7822 and 5199 this winter, and no doubt turned a profit doing so. The vast majority of locomotive owners do not have the personnel or skills to undertake their own maintenance full stop.

    Though I might suggest it was not the current board who failed to set money aside for 88.
     
  16. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    My dad who went to Taunton to see Bahamas on Sunday decided to have a ride afterwards on the WSR.
    Just his observations from a trip I guess that was not the first departure from BL.
    First two coaches were for pre booked but he said they were virtually empty.
    He sat in the third coach and there was him at one end and someone the other end.
    He decided to take the bus into Minehead from Dunster although he had not planned to, especially as a day with very heavy sudden showers (and he had already gotten downed at Taunton when the tour arrived as mentioned by someone on the Royal Duchy thread), he thought an open top was tempting fate. He said that part seemed to work well and the buses were nicely vintage.
    Train did not stop at Washford either way (I guess that is planned).
    Very few passengers on the way back as well.
    Train waited ages at Williton on the return, guard or TTI eventually came through and said they need to have a blow up on the prairie.
    I asked if he noticed anything about the appeal or any attempt to ask for donations. He said nothing beyond what was normally around.
    He enjoyed is ride (he is a little doomed where transport is concerned generally) he was after all on the train where the Manor blew it cylinder a couple of years back on the WSR.
    I accept middle of day trains tend to be the quietest (they are here at Swanage as well especially Sunday), but loads did not sound good and was very surprised about lack of appeal efforts.
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Has there been an update on the fundraising for this week? I had a look on wsr.org.uk and couldn't see anything but maybe I have missed it.
     
  18. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    Whilst you are correct that the SVR locos that you have listed are privately owned, the majority are not the subject of hire or mileage agreements, but are on historical 'run & repair' agreements made in earlier times. All locos listed are currently SVR based and are not 'hired-in' in the same sense that 6960 was until recently.

    Andy
     
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  19. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Big difference between being based on a line and being hired in for a defined time and purpose.

    Some years ago Bluebell hired in a 9F for a season when they were very short, but I'm not sure you would put the Maunsell Society locos in the same bracket?
     
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  20. Martin Fuller

    Martin Fuller New Member

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    I would suggest that 'run & repair' is a far greater financial liability for any railway. No locomotive on mileage or day rate earns enough, the vast majority struggle financially with nothing being set aside for a new firebox.
     
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