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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I rather think that most people, hearing the call for donations to meet dire needs, are reasonably able to work out that if they don't donate, then dire things stand a good chance of happening. Presumably, they've already thought about all the aspects of the situation, and have decided that said dire consequences are sadly the best out of a range of un-appealing options - so pointing the obvious out to them all over again is not likely to have much impact. Since there appears to be no other way of registering a message that those involved 'on the spot' will take on board, potential donators will (likely very regretfully) take up the only one that appears to be available to them, no matter how dire the probable outcome of that choice.

    The only open question at this point is which point those involved 'on the spot' will decide is more important: their continued control, or the line's survival. Given the history of the last year or so, I suspect most of the people who aren't donating already have a pretty good idea of what the likely answer is - and what it's (sadly) likely to lead to.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
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  2. Colin Allcars

    Colin Allcars Member

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    I rarely come to this thread but every time I do it has grown much longer and the usual suspects have been filling it with more hot air which has still changed absolutely nothing. I have no allegiance to any of the current management and have no interest in these battles of the ego.
    Many blithely discuss closure as if it were a light thing whereas it is the worst thing which could happen to the WSR. We also have those advocating withholding donations in order to precipitate said closure in the hope that current management can be thereby dislodged. I can honestly not believe this attitude. The most important thing here is the survival of the railway. Closure must be avoided at all costs.
    Equally, if the current management are not up to saving the railway then they must step aside and allow those who can to assume control. Saying that, it seems that one person, no matter however charismatic, should not have unrestricted control.
    I last commented many months ago and I will use the same anecdote again. In the tv series MASH, 2 surgeons were squabbling during a joint operation, so much so that the patient was slipping away. The anaesthetist, a corpsman, became progressively agitated and eventually blurted out “save the patient. Then you can kill each other”. They co operated and the patient lived.
    Joe Public isn’t interested in your ego driven squabbling. They want the railway to survive. So do I.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  3. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I suspect that a lot of those whom I alluded to in my prior post have concluded (sadly) that closure is (eventually) inevitable under the current management - and that they are unlikely to step aside (hence the opening point). "We are a lighthouse. Your call."

    Noel
     
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  4. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Well we have a vicious circle don’t we? Those at the top have made several cock ups that have annoyed quite a few people, who are now not opening their wallets, piggy banks etc unless things change, no change equals no cash so eventually no WSR.
    As my favourite TV cop Gene Hunt would say ‘It doesn’t take a degree in applied B****ks to know what’s going on’
     
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  5. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    I'll need to have a proper catch-up on this later, but here's a few points;


    If there are any concerns whatsoever at the various charities (WSRA, WSRHT, etc) as to the financial viability of the plc, they should not buy shares or donate un-restricted funds. Any grants given should include a lien on an appropriate asset. They could even purchase assets from the plc, as long as they help meet the charities aims.

    I suggested that shares could be donated. If your a small shareholder, then you have only a small voice at the plc. If your not interested in any of the 'benefits' of the shareholding, then donating your shares to whichever connected charity you see fit (& maybe joining them) will enable them to have a bigger voice.
    If you do wish to keep the shareholder benefits, then get together with other shareholders & arrange a proxy, who can attend & vote at AGMs/EGMs etc.
     
  6. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Hasn't something like that already happened recently? An asset was transferred. The PLC were supposed to hand over some cash but pleaded that they were broke. So a deal of some sort was agreed. Then the WSRA wanted to sort things out with the PLC's Finance Officer and the Chairman vetoed that.

    Is that all roughly accurate? Can someone confirm more exactly?
     
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  7. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    We all do but when a drowning man tells a potential lifeboat to foxtrot oscar, what do you do ?
     
  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Except, in the case of the WSR, The two surgeons would tell the anaesthetist to Foxtrot Oscar, then carry on arguing who killed the patient. If it were just down to the actions of one man, then its possible to change that one man, but such is the sheer toxicity generated by people who support the actions of this man, that its now a stark choice, either his way, which will eventually lead to ruin, or be thrown off and subjected to much vilification by his supporters, some say, stick with him to save the railway, then see about change, except, whilst he holds the power, there will be no change, you don't see dictators agree to stand down, they often are deposed and flee in the middle of the night, I actually feel sad for those who value the WSR, Especially those who for years gave so much, only to find that it counts for nothing, if you are seen as being a threat to several people, and their grip on power.
     
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  9. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    We must be due for a message any time now from one of the regular Plc supporters, telling us how everything at the railway is fine and its just the same old few at Nat Pres who continue to stir up ill feeling. Perhaps I can ask them in advance of that posting to explain why, if Nat Pres posters are so out of touch, it is that all the happy supporters of the Plc have failed to make much of an input into the crisis the appeal total?
     
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    To be fair, the MASH description is apt, unfortunately in this version Frank Burns is in charge, while the doctors, nurses etc have been told to **** off or kicked out, and all that is left of the camp is a leaky tent held up with one pole and Frank telling us that it is all everyone else's fault.
     
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  11. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Quick reminder that the WSRA AGM is tomorrow.
    Many questions in the last few pages will be answered for those members attending in person or on-line.

    I am sure one of them will post a synopsis here for non-members at some point.

    One fact for you. Any individual who owns shares can gift those shares to a charity at any time. While this is often done as a legacy bequest in a persons will it can actually be done at any time. There are potential income tax advantages that attach to the donor and you are freed from capital gians tax liability on the gifted shares (this last point is largely irrelevant for WSR plc shares as there would be no capital gain AFAIK). The .gov.uk web site has all the details for those interested.
     
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  12. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    That’s an easy one. In a sensible parallel universe in which the plc made rational decisions based on the value of a charitable parent, it could decide to maintain the travel rights of anyone transferring their shares to the controlling charity. The obligation would be no more onerous on the plc and the benefits of the Railway becoming a charitable structure would be achieved.

    Robin
     
  13. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Of course your money, your choice. But isn't that logic flawed? Rather than help prevent a default you'd rather stand back and watch it happen, then help mitigate its effect. Wouldn't it be better to help avoid it occurring in the first place?
     
  14. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    the trouble is we are trapped in an endless chicken and egg conundrum . We know the railway needs money yet cannot find the goodwill to support in any way shape or form the current regime under whose control has taken the railway to the brink . So do you support and save the railway in the hope that those in charge move on, or withhold support in the hope that those in charge realise their part in this and do the decent thing and move on to allow a new board to take things forward . It really is high stakes brinkmanship especially as I suspect the structure of the WSR and where the assets are held along with the LRO would in the absolute worst case make it much harder to restart
     
  15. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    I think you, like many others supportive of the current chair, really do not understand or comprehend the depth of disgust felt for the leadership of the WSR, by many who would otherwise be supporting the WSR in its troubles. Seriously, I think disgust is the word. Not disappointment. Not annoyance. Not cross. Disgusted. The way the S&DRT were treated was appalling, but largely the act of one person. However, all who have sought to diminish that act, now share in it. Further events appear to show a person without honour, scruple, integrity, or business acumen.
    Those who come on here, accusing 'the usual suspects' of rehashing old news clearly also do not understand, and somehow expect us all to forget the scandalous acts of the PLC chairman, and give our hard earned money to help save 'his' railway, and thereby save his reputation and maintain the hold on power of him and his acolytes.
    Many of us did try "to help avoid it occurring in the first place" by trying to elect trustees to the WSSRT, which we thought the best way to save the railway. You helped to put paid to that plan.
     
  16. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the fear for many people is that donating money won't really help prevent a default, at best it might stall it a few months but the general consensus appears to be that the WSR has had it on its current course. I don't think the railway's PR has particularly helped on that front either. Asking for such a huge sum of money saying it's urgently needed or else the line fails, and people see how little is coming in, well we all assume that the line will indeed fail then, so no point donating money that'll just go straight to the creditors. If there was a better set-up perhaps we might be more inclined to give money to the relevant Charitable Trust, but unlike, say, Llangollen, there's not really an equivalent.
     
  17. 45669

    45669 Member

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    As luck would have it, I was on holiday in Somerset on Saturday, 14th August when BAHAMAS took a charter train from London Paddington to Bishops Lydeard. So I called in and shot a few feet of video of the train arriving and being replaced by the pair of Manors. The edited version is now on YouTube in two separate videos, so if anyone would like to see them, here's the links:





    Hope they're of interest.

    TTFN,

    Ron.
     
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  18. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    Let's apply a little games theory to the analysis of whether my logic is flawed.

    I have two options: that I give money to the WSR or I give it to the S&DRT. There are also two outcomes: the WSR goes bust or it doesn't. Let's look at the payoffs to me.

    Option One – I give money to the WSR.

    Outcome One: the WSR goes bust. Payoff to me: my donation has been wasted.

    Outcome Two: the WSR does not go bust. Payoff to me: my donation may enable the WSR to discharge its obligation to overhaul the S&DRT's locomotive.

    Option Two – I give money to the S&DRT.

    Outcome One: the WSR goes bust. Payoff to me: my donation will assist the Trust in mitigating the consequences of the WSR being unable overhaul its locomotive.

    Outcome Two: the WSR does not go bust. Payoff to me: Even if the WSR does manage to overhaul the Trust's locomotive, I'm still happy to see my donation mitigating the other damage the WSR did to the Trust by kicking it out of Washford.

    The payoff matrix of these options and outcomes seems to point very clearly – and logically! - to my taking the second option of giving to the S&DRT. And that's without applying any weightings to the possible outcomes, as is common in games theory.

    But there are weightings to be applied to my analysis. They are both negative and they both apply to the Option One outcomes. For, if I give my money to the WSR, I am giving my support to an organisation that has already acted disgracefully once by abrogating the agreement it formed with the S&DRT in 2018 in respect of the Washford site, and now threatens to compound the resulting damage by announcing its inability to overhaul the Trust's locomotive. Support an organisation that behaves in that way? I'm damned if I want to do that.

    Flaws in my logic? I think not.
     
  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    That misses the point. To echo @flying scotsman123 - the structural problems at the WSR are so many that the line is unviable and donating money is just delaying the inevitable - merely a sticking plaster on a stab wound.

    We are supposed to believe that if spring 2022 is reached the grey clouds will part, sunshine will flood in, unicorns will roam the fields and the WSR under the current leadership will become financially sustainable, stable and harmonious and that the begging bowl will never be seen again.

    So people donate now to see the line through to next spring, but the line is still not making enough through the fare box and the opportunities to reorganise in a way that would enhance the fund raising capability of the WSR have been rejected.

    Meanwhile the senior figures whose decisions and incompetence have repeatedly damaged the financial and organisational health of the WSR (cf Seaward Way, S&DRT, not running last year, money spent punishing volunteers etc) remain in place, with no evidence of a Damascene-conversion in approach or attitude on their part.

    Sorry, but not sorry, the current senior managers don't have the skills, intelligence or competence to lead the WSR to ensure that we won't be back here in 6, 12 or 18 months with another 'give us your money or the line will close' appeal. Why on earth would any sane person send good money after bad to delay the inevitable?

    Finally, not everyone is rolling in cash, if I donate to save the WSR from extinction then that money is not going to help another organisation, so I need to make a choice, and if I am donating I'd like to see some evidence what my donation will be spent on and guarantee that it won't be wasted. I don't see that from the WSR.

    If the choice is between donating to support the WSR under the current regime and supporting say the LLR under their new management, or any of the other lines and organisations that are looking for support, then it is a no brainer as to where my money goes.

    The PLC is reaping what it has sown.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  20. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Exactly this - there is a lack of trust that leads to the conclusion that the end result will be failure, which leads to thinking why donate.
     

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