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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    In my post 39120 of 15 July I replied to your complaint that “there is very little acceptance of other views or other interpretations of the evidence.” I suggested that “there are an ongoing series of issues around the operation of the WSR which, shall we say, seems to have more than its fair share of mis-steps and controversy.” and that “Given that there is general agreement that the railway is under threat,would it not be better to acknowledge that there have been errors of judgement and that some of the suggestions raised on this thread, such as better communications with members and supporters, presentation of a properly prepared and costed business plan, a reasonably detailed explanation of the purpose of the funding appeal and so on, might have some merit ?” and I said I looked forward to your detailed response.

    I am still waiting the courtesy of a reply.

    In the meantime you continue to complain about people discussing these issues but seem not to understand why they are raised or why they are important. If there really are “other points of view” as you say then, as @Sidmouth suggests, why not have the courage of your convictions and put them forward together with your reasoning.
     
  2. Martin Fuller

    Martin Fuller New Member

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    There are really two approaches to bottom end work. One is to do everything at the ten year, including wheels out, tyres turned, horns and axleboxes overhauled. The other approach is to do maintenance as required during the ticket. Frequently locos are forced into the latter approach by lack of funds to do the boiler.

    The advantage of doing everything at the ten year is that you don't have the same time pressure to get jobs done, and you can maximise 'up time' during the ticket. The disadvantage is that you then have a mileage target, to get the most out of your bottom end before you overhaul it again, and when you get to your ten year, you have a huge amount to do! On the 'do everything at the ten year' scheme, you need to something like 70-80k miles in a ticket. Average daily mileage over a year on the WSR is something like 67 miles, so to hit 70k miles over a ten year period you need to be running 105 days a year. Of course if the boiler fails early, then you have a problem that your bottom end still has a few miles left in it.

    I prefer the maintain as required approach. However that said, getting the wheels out and doing the horns, axleboxes etc.. is a hell of a job to have to do mid ticket and it does seriously eat into your free time and earning potential the year you have to do that! 2019 I spent virtually all of my annual leave at Tyseley working on 7822.
     
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  3. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    In my world, which is construction/renovation, everyone on site is subject to scrutiny and criticism by others. Not just your work, but your tools, materials, PPE, habits, diet and personal life. Mostly, it is not meant in any way unfavourably. I have learned an awful lot over the years, simply by asking the other guy to explain/justify something. I have had tools demonstrated that I had not seen before. I have changed my methods, learned new skills. I have also learned to simply avoid some people/companies because it becomes clear that they enjoy having their heads up their arses
    So being able to stand up to criticism and scrutiny shows strength, and being able to acknowledge that your choice does not stand up to logical criticism also shows strength. Sometimes, your only answer is-"Had I known, when I made my choice, what you have just shown me, I would likely have made a different choice. I am however, stuck with the choice I made" and nearly always, the critic tacitly responds with "I shall respect that you are stuck with the choice you made"
    Repeatedly, the WSR as a body seems not only unable to justify itself and its actions, but responds with personal slight rather than any sort of logical explanation.
    If you pointed out that I had made a bad job of something because, you thought, my chisels were blunt, and I responded that I wouldn't take that criticism because you are a vegetarian-what does that say of me. Especially if i don't even try to find out the state of my chisels
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    There are two WSR's - on the one hand a magnificent branchline with excellent volunteers, and on the other a woefully mismanaged line run by incompetents.

    For the WSR and against the senior management.

    @1472 and @Ian Monkton (and others) have asked about other people putting themselves forward but it isn't just about putting yourself forward it is about actually having the right skills to do something but also the self-awareness to recognise when you don't have the necessary skills either technical or interpersonal. It is useful to recognise when you are not suitable for a role and I am not sure that there is a great deal of that self awareness in Somerset. Someone might think their plain speaking or 'not suffering fools' is a great attribute but it is useless if you need to build a consensus and you can't reign it in.

    @Robin Moira White (and others) might remember the old Soviet joke about the reason why the roads in the USSR were so bad is because the physical building of them was done by intellectuals and artists, while the design and engineering was done by hod carriers. I get a late USSR vibe off the WSR.

    A counter point - the DEPG's appeal for D1010 is a superb example of constructing a case for funding from the public. It is in my opinion something everyone (not just on the WSR) should be looking at in terms of openness, honesty, clarity and realism. There are the people who have the skills to take the WSR already involved but they are in groups like the DEPG, WSRA and S&DRT but not in the PLC and that is a problem.


    I am probably being very stupid here so I'd really like someone to explain the figures to me because I don't understand how they came to this £110,120 loss figure and it being turned into a profit. It is clear that it did envisage the running of trains because they said the anticipated revenue from tickets was £45,640.

    We get a budgeted loss of £110,120 turned into £2254 profit on the basis of an additional

    Ticket revenue above budgeted figure 34,661 (80,301-45640)
    Commercial 28,183 (I am assuming that no commercial or restoration income was budgeted)
    Seaward Way 25,955
    restoration 11,607

    That gives me £100,406 additional revenue over that budgeted. Which still doesn't turn the loss into a profit as there is still another £12,000 to turn it into a profit. I could imagine savings being a factor but £12,000 a month? That is some economy drive. Donations to the SOS fund?

    To echo @Pete Thornhill - it seems to me that the budgeting has been based on an absolute worst case scenario which I don't think is unreasonable considering covid but I can't quite get my head around the initial figures or the turnaround, or indeed why there is quite such a massive swing in a month when the WSR ran for just 16 days.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  5. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Not forgetting that anyone who had the cheek to propose an alternative structure, would have a fair trial before being found guilty and shot.
     
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  6. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Fake news, Brian. I've not had a trial and I've not been shot :)

    Steve
     
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  7. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    You see this is where I have a real problem. I don't think these things can co-exist. If the line was truly "woefully mismanaged by incompetents" then you wouldn't get the outstanding line that I saw last week and yesterday or the "magnificence" you describe. If the management was as bad as you suppose all the volunteers would have walked away, and things would be in decline. It just isn't possible to have such a fantastic line run by volunteers if management was that bad. The volunteers and staff need to want to do things well and wouldn't do that if they didn't respect the people leading them. So the only possible conclusion is that the boards are doing the right things and it is only the rarified group on here that sees things differently. So maybe this forum is just completely out of step with the real world......
    And i do know about the various issues you will regurgitate....maybe theres more to those than meets the eye, just maybe you don't have all the info. I've no idea how local you are to the railway or how often you visit, but it is good to get the views of those right at the pointy end. They are not unhappy...
    Ian C
     
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  8. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    You seemingly are completely out of touch with reality, Ian or looking through rose-tinted spectacles ..... those at the sharp end are dedicated to the pleasure they get from the work they do, despite their contempt for those in the ivory towers.
     
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  9. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Your continued longevity is always great news Mr Edge. If however you do have ideas that would strengthen the WSR, but put you in the dissident camp then you will always have the support of a growing band of independent thinkers.
     
  10. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry, Ian, but if there is "more than meets the eye" to some of the recent unfortunate events, why doesnt the board let us know what they are, and stop all this sniping. As you know I enjoyed my five years of volunteering at Crowcombe, and helped in a very small way to resolve the previous ex 6 problem. I would love to be able to continue to support the WSR from afar, but when I read of a long standing tenant at Washford, with whom you yourself had signed a long lease extension only a year or two previously, being referred to as a "cuckoo in the nest" and given notice to quit, when a volunteer who was forthright in expressing his views was offered a punch up on the platform to sort things out, when the chair of the WSRA was told to foxtrot oscar only minutes after presenting the Chairman with a cheque for £100000, not to mention the delayed Seaward Way project which was close to being ready to go when I left in 2017, my reaction is to say to myself that while the WSR is led by this person - and lets face it, it is one person - I cannot give it my support. Please, if there are good reasons for these behaviours, let us know what they are. I feel sorry for you and others like you who are long time WSR supporters, I sincerely hope the line pulls through this difficult period, and I look forward to being able to give my support again in happier times.
     
  11. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    My thoughts would be that I disagree to a degree that they cannot co-exist, maybe not long term but in the short term it’s quite possible.

    Not everything the board does is bad, there are some areas where which they do quite well in, with the board members skill set helping to achieve this. However, there are also shortcomings, maybe brought about by not having board members who have the right skills to address those areas. There is seemingly an ignorance to these shortcomings and nothing is done to address them, which is concerning as the railway needs to excel in all areas, upping their game in the bits they currently do poorly if they are to turn things around for the long term.
     
  12. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The people on the ground have the choice of getting on with what they enjoy doing and/or are paid for doing, while keeping their noses out of management; or of trying to steer the railway in a more sustainable direction and being sacked for daring to question the management. Most have chosen the former course, presumably hoping that the worst will never happen. That is perfectly understandable but by no means proves that the worst will never happen.
     
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ...but I suspect they know where you are...:):)
     
  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Wrong way round. Punishment before trial, if we are thinking of the CCCP.

    Meanwhile, discovered at Woody Bay yesterday…

    2D8154C5-4EC5-4272-84C1-8A06E531084A.jpeg 5987CDEF-B69A-4AE4-91CE-AB7CB84D1225.jpeg
     
  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Funny, I see no mention of the 'missing link' between DR and MD :)

    Mind you, possibly not as bad as those who apparently turn up at Woody Bay wanting the 'last train back to Barnstaple' :)
     
  16. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    The two are perfectly possible. If the board is doing so well why do you have an SOS appeal running for £1 million?

    People volunteer despite management not because of it.

    Just one question - if everyone is volunteering because they agree with the board and think they are doing the right thing, why did you support the instigation of action to remove the ability to volunteer for those who disagree with the board?

    Maybe you've answered your own question about why no one is voicing concern to you about the boards.

    The WSR boards remind me of the mug punters you meet in the bookies. The ones who constantly bang on about some great gamble they landed in 1995 and how they have a system that means they always pick a winner. It's a secret, they can't tell you what it is but it is a surefire, guaranteed method of picking winners.

    The races get run and they do their nuts every single race, but it is never because their picks are bad or they don't know what they are doing, it is the fault of the horse, it is the fault of the jockey, it is a conspiracy, its a fix but for something they would have won. Then when they land a massive odds on shot (which is what making a profit in June is) they run around declaring themselves to be geniuses.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  17. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    It does mention it, underneath the calendar…
     
  18. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Of course! And polite exchanges all along. Best to talk y'know. I might be a Man of Dorset but I am not a Clubman.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
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  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Has Washford been airbrushed out of history?
     
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  20. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ...oops.

    Mind you, not exactly prominent IMHO. I saw the bit which said simply that red days were services between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, but missed the 'footnote'.
     

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