If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    335
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer

    1) Somerset has a population of ~0.5m, with many of the higher density areas being a long way from Weston, which is where the vehicles are based. A quick look on the listings sites shows that the Crosville vehicles are at the top end of pricing as well.
    It's also an old population, 25% are 65+, & that's where 90% of the population growth has been in the past decade. *

    2) By 'make money' I meant make the sort of profits, after paying yourself, that would allow you to play with steam locos.
    The Crosville business made an operating loss in 2018 & 2019 (to 29/2/2020)



    * This should be of interest/concern to the WSR, as it will impact on volunteers ageing out, & a potential lack of younger volunteers.
     
    jnc likes this.
  2. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    335
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
  3. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    There are some assumptions there, for a start why would the operations be limited to Somerset? That completely ignores the huge population and potential client base in the Bristol area. Exeter also isn’t that far away.

    You also assume that people who are getting married in Somerset are from Somerset, that is quite often not the case. I live and work in a rural area on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire border but cover a far wider area into the West Midlands and across into Wales too.

    Locally, two venues I work with do a roaring trade with couples from the Birmingham area, who love the rural locations on offer, one of the venues has just been voted the best wedding venue in the UK which further illustrates that the right venue will attract couples regardless of where they live. Of the last five weddings across the two venues I have been involved in, only one was someone local, the other four couples all being from the West Midlands.

    Another example was a couple from Gloucester, who fell in love with this Manor House near Tavistock - they got married there because they liked the venue not because of any local connection, the suppliers being a mix of local to the venue and those such as myself, local to the client but happy to travel if the money is right.

    Basically, what I am saying is you are restricting the market to the local area (Somerset), the reality is the potential market is much larger than that.

    I couldn’t comment on if Crossville could make a success of generating sufficient profits, you didn’t actually say that originally, rather told us that the general market needed to recover (it doesn’t - it’s alive and well) and that it doesn’t generate significant profits (when done right this is also incorrect). The industry is doing well and barring any more shutdowns due to pandemics is in a healthy position at the moment. It’s also pretty recession proof too as I found out during the last one - people still get married.
     
    35B likes this.
  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    6,843
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    @Pete Thornhill does it maybe depend on what element within the wedding events chain you are doing? I wonder if there are some things that people say 'well we are on a budget and I'd rather have say more guests than a vintage bus? I wonder if some things are more elastic than others? ie people will have a photographer but maybe not a live band. I do recall one friend saying why spend x on a dj when I can set up my own mp3 playlist?
     
  5. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    2,530
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    There seem to be an assumption that the headline sale price is what the vendor trousers! I doubt if that is the case - it will have cost to take it to the point where it was saleable, there may be loans to pay off and there will be tax to pay on anything that is left. I think ideas of the proceeds funding a takeover attempt of the WSR are most probably conspiracy theory. Apart from anything else, I was told at the weekend that the rail of rail has recently doubled - a quick back of envelope calculation suggests that if around 8 miles of track needs replacing that is approaching £2.5M in rail alone. What remains of the £8.4M windfall isn't going to go too far - and would people still keep donating to help a rich man subsidise his toy? I suspect many might not.
     
    Davo, johnofwessex, jnc and 2 others like this.
  6. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    Yes and no, your friend is a good example and one close to my heart as it’s entertainment which my company provides. He could set up a playlist, but will potentially have to hire PA equipment, and there is more to it than putting on a playlist, you can’t buy experience but it’s vital to know which order to play the songs and be able to read a crowd - I could have exactly the same playlist and get people dancing by drawing on my experience knowing what to play and when.

    When I’m doing wedding fairs, I quite often meet people who think it’s something they can skimp on, the other big one being the fee. I counter it by pointing out that it’s their big day, do they need the stress of keeping guests entertained? In particular regarding fees, I point out that they will happily spend vast amounts on the wedding cake and now are baulking at the price for what is actually an entire nights entertainment for what is their special day, which they only get one shot at.

    Looking specifically at the disco side, I offer more than just evening entertainment. Big sellers are venue uplighting, ceremony music for civil services, dancefloor hire, light up love lights and services acting as the master of ceremonies. This quite often is booked in as a combination of the above as an all day package, this has the benefit of making the overall package more attractive and in someways you almost bundle the evening disco as the add on!!! It’s a reason other than money that I love the upsell on as once you’ve sold them the idea that all the formalities of have been taken care of, by someone who knows what he is doing, and able to guide the guests through the day (let’s see your friends mp3 playlist do that), it becomes easy to sell the complete experience and you meet less resistance to the fee and/or value of. Basically it’s about how you market it. I work in all the high end venues in the area - country clubs, stately homes, castles etc which also helps, especially if you are their preferred supplier, which is the case with quite a few of them, money tends to be less of an issue, people assume you are working with a high end venue so you are high end too, which in an attempt to get vaguely back on topic (although, I thought you might be interested in an insight), if it’s marketed right there is no reason the vintage transport company could not be successful and profitable if marketed correctly. Certainly, the local ones do very well.
     
    Miff and Monkey Magic like this.
  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    6,843
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    You've convinced me, and should I ever be involved in a wedding in the Herefordshire area I'll be in touch. :)

    I guess my point is that if people are not on unlimited budgets then something has to give and maybe transport is something where things give. If I am at a wedding show and you are telling me about the entertainment, the cake person is telling me about the cakes, the fireworks, dress, suit, flower etc etc are upselling themselves to me and I only have a finite pot then I can't have everything and you make a decision about what you really want and what you can live without. Unless of course people tend to spend regardless.

    I just wonder if a vintage bus etc is something that there is maybe lower demand for compared to entertainment, cakes, dresses, flowers etc
     
    Pete Thornhill likes this.
  8. gwilialan

    gwilialan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    3,708
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Out there somewhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    So..... Does all this mean that Minehead turntable is being registered as a wedding venue?????? :confused::rolleyes::Bag:
    :Wasntme::Imwithstupid: :p
     
  9. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    I’d agree there is potentially a lower demand but again it really depends who you are dealing with. I’ve had people hiring complete funfairs before, those kind of people would be most likely to hire the vintage bus, okay there are less of that kind of client but there is still more than you think and if you are linked with the right venues you get the right client base, the fees for the bus generally is about the same as the photographer if he is a decent one, discos with the add ons also being about the same.
    Well they removed the requirement for the actual service itself (Bride & Groom and registrars) to be under cover so it’s possible!!! The Engine House at the SVR is registered so why not?!!!
     
    Monkey Magic likes this.
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    6,843
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    It'd certainly make an interesting venue. @Pete Thornhill will be there to introduce the happy couples with Dead or Alive's 'You spin me round'.

    On the subject of wedding music the one that sticks in my memory is the fundamentalist guy I knew who picked The Stranglers' Golden Brown as his wedding dance music without realising what the song is about.
     
  11. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    Over the years I’ve have been asked for a Father & Daughter dance and asked for “Dance with my Father” as the song. They are always genuinely shocked when I point out what the song is about :rolleyes:o_O:D
     
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    23,029
    Likes Received:
    45,142
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    You could have a traverser for the divorcee / serial marriage crowd ...

    Tom
     
  13. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    Ironic when you consider the actions of the inner WSR family seem very much like an old married couple :D
     
    MellishR and jnc like this.
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    23,029
    Likes Received:
    45,142
    Location:
    LBSC 215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The WSR is itself apparently in the wedding business: a search for WSR and wedding brings up:

    Weddings and celebration charters are our specialty. Why not re-capture the romance of the bygone era of steam for your special day. You can reserve your own carriage, or charter a whole train and relax with your guests as the train steams its way through twenty miles of Somerset coast and country in a style reminiscent of the golden age of train travel. We offer bespoke wedding reception packages to suit a wide range of budgets and can accommodate parties from 20 to 100 people on our trains. (https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/facilities)
    Though the following paragraph starts:

    Please see our Event Pages for details of our 2017 lunchtime and evening dining train specials
    So it doesn't look like the page has been looked at in a few years ...

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
    MellishR likes this.
  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    6,843
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A three way point for the open relationships? And high speed token exchange in Minehead signalbox for the swingers?
     
    MellishR and johnofwessex like this.
  16. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    6,537
    Likes Received:
    4,221
    A good way to get back on topic Tom. Unfortunately, that’s not the only area of the website which has outdated information, it’s a shame they seem unable to update it. The out of date information is the first turn off for a high end wedding client - it comes across as can’t be bothered…
     
    RailWest and Jamessquared like this.
  17. Keith Sims

    Keith Sims Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2015
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    663
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    retired from volunteering
    Location:
    Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    £1m would wipe out the need for the slow burning appeal fund!
    and the need for a new volunteer post
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
  18. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,343
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    ynysddu south wales
    @RichardBrum I did a similar analysis, and deducting all the various charges etc on the myriad parts of JJP's 'empire', and the peculiarities of bus contracts of which I some experience, and the buses themselves. I did wonder over all this at some length yesterday.

    At face value I suppose all we can conclude is that the contract and buses for Hinckley C are no longer a part of the JJP 'empire', and if it all goes through one might assume one part of his 'empire' got a surprising very good deal.

    Looking at the various accounts relating to the 'empire' does make me wonder a bit more.

    Any implied or direct aspersions are strictly only allegedly.
     
  19. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    3,538
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    £1 plus the debts, I would expect.
     
  20. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    3,538
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That's just asset-stripping, it's not going to make the business profitable, in fact the reverse.
     
    jnc, 35B and MellishR like this.

Share This Page