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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    Asking for a million quid one minute, then saying we've made a profit due to more passengers than we budgeted for the next, really doesn't help matters either.
     
  2. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    According to the RM article 40 passengers per train is the break even point, not a lot in reality and leads to further questions, if the break even point is so low, how did the railway get in this mess in the first place? Something doesn't seem to ring true...
     
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  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    The RM articles in the current edition are IMHO insufficiently 'critical' and I include the one on the GWS as well in that description, not that I think that there is much to be critical about the GWS BUT it all reads a bit like a press release.
     
  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Those who are shareholders and especially attending the AGM will I hope be focusing their minds on how the plc address the question of going concern brought up in the accounts
     

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  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    If 40 passengers per train is the break-even, why did they spend 2020 saying that they couldn’t afford to run trains at half-capacity due to social distancing?

    Actually I doubt that 40 is the break even; I’m sure it must be higher. But it’s another example of where the plc seem to have no grasp of the real numbers, but instead just pluck numbers out of thin air.

    (An off the top of my head guesstimate is that 40 passengers - say £1000 of revenue) might be what is needed to cover the direct operation of the train, ie coal, water, loco hire etc; but not the contribution to the indirect costs ie maintenance of the loco and carriages, S&T, infrastructure renewal, business overheads etc. )

    Tom
     
  6. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    the second sentence of the penultimate paragraph makes little sense. Profit and cash are not synonymous.
     
  7. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    ....and why, in that case, was it not viable to run any trains last year?
     
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  8. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I would "like" that post, because I agree with most of it, but I do not understand the last sentence. The plan to elect new trustees to the WSSRT was intended to facilitate reorganisation of the WSR's structure along the Bailey lines. The plan failed because of determined opposition from the incumbent trustees, who persuaded the membership to vote against the new candidates (and subsequently enlisted the PLC's help to exact revenge and "encourager les autres"). What involvement did Lineisclear himself have in that?
     
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  9. Fish Plate

    Fish Plate Member

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    I find this genuinely heartbreaking. The Plc were given a proposal for restructuring that would have transformed how it is funded. Instead of adopting it with vigour, the directors kicked it into the long grass. Now, those same directors report that the Company may not be viable. This is a staggering dereliction of duty and, if the railway does collapse (which seems ever more likely), that failure will rest solely on the shoulders of a few individuals.
     
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  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    40 passengers would be = £625.00 or 10 family tickets
    40 passengers paying top price = £1000

    So 40 passengers would be some point between that considering the mix of passengers. And while I am not in traffic or finance, those costs seem a bit low for a near 40 mile round trip.

    To echo your point my concern would be that the board do not seem to have a handle on the finances. They do not seem to know how much money they need or have, what their break even point is. Either that or they just say the first thing that comes into their mind.

    @Lineisclear opposed the 10/14 and spoke out against it. I think @ross 's point is that if Bailey had either supported the 10/14 or not spoken out against it then it would have had a better chance of succeeding, as it was the incumbent trustees and the PLC could use Bailey's opposition to garner support to oppose the 10/14.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  11. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    That is the million £ question.
     
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  12. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    i suspect that forty passengers represents the marginal cost of running the service. Numbers above this
    represent revenue to offset against the fixed costs/overheads.

    I am no longer involved in/with the management of the Railway ( Plc or WSRA ) but as a shareholder
    I have attended the last two Plc AGMs.

    I thought the finance officer ( now appointed to the Board ) appeared to have a very firm grasp of
    where the pennies were and where they were not. I imagine the Board is in receipt of very
    accurate and helpful monthly management accounts .

    I do agree that some of the attempts to pass on information are somewhat amateurish. The
    word ‘profit’ is alway open to a multitude of interpretations. I have always preferred ‘contribution’
    and at year end consolidation: ‘contribution’ minus unallocated monies spent represents profit.

    I think the June figures suggest the budget promulgated a loss in excess of £100K ie the difference
    between revenue and costs for June . In practice pax numbers were far better than forecast such
    that there was a small surplus. This is obviously good news but how has July and August performance
    compared with budget ?

    Yes June figures suggest cash better by £100K than forecast but still way short of the c. £430K
    grant that was not forthcoming.

    I can only but guess the current situation: June is the last month we have any published
    information ( and there is no obligation for the PLC to issue any although presumably they
    will update at the forthcoming AGM. )

    I realise this is frustrating to some posters !

    I think we can conclude there is some improvement in the ‘Railways’ finances but there is
    a long way to go. Donations are needed if we are to enjoy an operating WSR in 2022.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  13. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    This summarises the problems of the WSR-no money set aside for renewals or infrastructure work and numbers plucked from the air. Didn't JJP bring in an accountancy firm to sort out the finances? If so, I'm not sure their association with the WSR will have done their reputation much good!
     
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  14. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    As Mr Magic has pointed out, @Lineisclear joined in with the others in speaking against the 10/14. His posts stated that his privileged information, contrary to the ignorance of us simpletons supporting the proposed trustees, proved that the PLC were quite competent, trustworthy and had a workable plan to ensure the success of the WSR moving forward. He also claimed that the large number of trustees would damage the WSSRT, and joined in the chorus of "hostile takeover" merchants.
    That the PLC now has the begging bowl out suggests that at least some of the claims by the naysayers were unfounded
     
  15. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    I believe it is currently the accounting firm who also deal with some (or all?) of his other 'businesses' and, there is a senior member of that firm now sitting on the Plc board.

    While they may be able to separate their activities this very close relationship does concern me with regards to conflicts of interests or undue influence.
     
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  16. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    Re the break even figure.
    Our GM Chris Price has stated many times that the operating cost of the NYMR is 20p / minute I think.
    @Lineisclear should be able to confirm.

    That figure covers everything, Fuel, salaries, insurance etc.
    I think that most large lines in the country will be fairly similar proportionally.
     
  17. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    WSR watchers may be interested in this https://watercressline.co.uk/mid-ha...-form-watercress-line-heritage-railway-trust/

    There is a more detailed letter to members and shareholders but knowing the likely reaction of all the "Not in the public domain..." purists I won't put a copy on here.

    Points to note: Mid Hants railway to be formally renamed The Watercress Line but the company will still be known as the Mid Hants as that's what's on the LRO.
    Company and trust boards working together to make it happen with overarching charity owning the assets and the company running it,
    Absolutely no mention whatsoever of any six figure sum needed.

    I'm assuming this is possibly (partly) in response to seeing how the Llangollen trust managed to save their railway by the way they were organised.

    What a shame the WSR board can't see beyond the end of their noses and take note of what is happening in the real world. Obviously there are no windows in the ivory towers in Somerset.

    Edit, Added:- I hope they won't mind me publishing one little bit, just to give the powers that be something to consider...
    "Restructuring to allow us to claim gift aid would make a significant contribution to our income, thought to be possibly as much as £225k a year."
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
  18. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I’m flattered but I think you grossly over estimate the influence my personal views may have had on members of the WSRHT. It’s true I made no secret of my disapproval of the 14/10’s proposed use of the Trust’s shareholding in the PLC to engineer change. As one of the main protagonists said to me the end was seen as justifying the means. I disagreed and so it appears did the majority of the Trust’s members. My view at the time was that it was misconceived, doomed to fail and likely only to ratchet up tension. I’ve seen nothing to suggest I was wrong.

    Brian, I ‘ll check the figure but my calculation is more like 20p a second!
     
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  19. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    don't forget as well , (and to stress in this case I am not saying the WSR is) if a company is found to be trading whilst insolvent then I believe the Directors can become liable for debts incurred after that point . To Michael Rowe's point I hope the top quality management information that is being provided highlights the state of the balance sheet as well and all the Directors are aware of their own risk
     
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  20. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Does that include an allowance for infrastructure renewals, or is it just running costs? Thanks
     

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