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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    If there were other fair reasons, why bother with something that looks like, and is so easily proved to be, bullshit, not to put too fine a point on it? Of course, such a change could cost a six-figure sum, making things cost more is never difficult, but the reality is, as @5914 has demonstrated above, it could easily be done for a lot less, by several orders of magnitude.
     
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  2. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Odd though. The new East Quay does not include anything that resembles a signal box. A lean-to maybe or perhaps a dock crane operator caboose. Hard to see how the wonderful WSR signal boxes could be seen as an inspiration but if that's what they say, then we'd better believe it :)

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
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  3. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    All very interesting but not really comparable with the WSR's situation which involves an independent commercial company which happens to own the LRO. If you have experience with that scenario, then it would be really helpful to hear about how that went. I can't comment on your ignored offer of direct help and I'd expect you to receive some kind of acknowledgement. Tis only polite even if rejected.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  4. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    There are many times where artists have claimed inspiration and I’ve been unable to see the link!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Ah, I think you know I agree that old ways must remain so. But it is their website and their decision. And yes if volunteers were involved it could/should be a good thing as it shares out the workload. And yes remote working too! I am 200 miles from the WSR and yet I've just stepped down from managing the Trust website after about 15 years, and before that I did the WSRA website from 2000, I think, for a similar number of years. It can work well. As for the author's bit, I think the words used were a tad poetic and rather typical of Sunday supplement style. Either way, it was the author's choice not to name the WSR, not the WSR's.

    A good chum has found a nice picture of the then WSR chair and some of the Onions and other Watchet notables (by searching the wsr.org.uk archives I might add!) so there's been a working relationship for quite a long time. Recent Onion developments at Watchet have also been the "other side of the fence", adjacent to the Railway, so again there'll have been discussions throughout.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
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  6. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Well yes. A list was compiled by me back in 1980 and used. I'm sure my successors have maintained and used that list. But again, my experience shows you can shout as much as you like but sometimes folks do their own things. But to counter your point, the three short let self-catering places we have recently used in West Somerset, and the next one, all go overboard with the "West Somerset Railway" as a big selling point. And that's just four current examples.

    I'm not sure what "Things to do in Somerset" you were looking at. Is it run by a trade organisation?

    Good to be drawing out these comments. Thanks.

    Steve
     
  7. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Thanks but my point was that the style of The Platform could be mirrored to that of the Journal and thus help build the "one railway" thing many of us want. And yep, I'm happy to change/limit wsr.org.uk to something like, say, a photo archive, if (a big if) there's a merging of the main official websites in a further bid towards "one railway".

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  8. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Considering that many of those involved with the Onion Collective were involved in the creation of the Minehead Eye, it would be a considerable surprise if they were unaware of the railway, its signal boxes and portacabins.

    While they might physically be metres apart - the ethos of the Onion Collective and the ethos of WSR management are worlds apart. The Onion seems to be 'have a hug' the WSR is more 'punch in the face'
     
  9. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    there is always a risk we continue to circle the same topics .

    What the last couple of pages illustrate is a microcosm of the dysfunctional nature of the WSR . It is the PLC way and no other and it is paid staff and not volunteer support . Other railways create excellent channels with a mix of the two , the WSR doesn't compare

    Whilst I don't tend to agree with Steve edge and we do cross swords , I will say again that were it not for his sterling efforts then the WSR offering would be negligable . Web presence is something that can be easily managed by a distanced team

    I had a look at the Video's on the WSR facebook page

    upload_2021-10-25_9-55-15.png

    then a look on the SVR

    upload_2021-10-25_9-56-51.png

    SVR video's are structured into albums , all linked to railway / marketing themes . I'm not sure on facebook where you set the screenshot but the SVR's are more supportive to the railway

    The other take away from the discussion is some believe the WSR has a divine right to exist . It doesn't , it isn't unique and its function as a former GWR branch line is covered by a number of other lines . Llangollen showed no line is too big or important to fail
     
  10. pgbffest

    pgbffest Member

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    A risk? I thought on this particular railway it was a stone cold certainty??
     
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  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    If the railway keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over then the criticism is going to repeat itself.
     
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  12. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC WSR tv was set up with volunteer involvement, including @Robin Moira White . There was a sub-thread on here a while back and IIRC I queried the lack of output, and a response attributed it to lack of input and/or direction from the WSR. All from memory, I stand to be corrected.

    The SVR's excellent YouTube channel's guiding mind and regular presenter is the paid marketing and comms manager. Not underestimating volunteers' involvement (both in production and the heavy time resource in editing) but I think it very unlikely the quality and volume of content would be so great without having that resource. To bring it round full circle, volunteer support in some areas (newsletters, brochures, souvenir guide production) gives them more time on others (video) where they in turn involve more volunteers.

    Patrick
     
  13. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    I think you are living in a different universe. HOPs subscribers are well catered for with info. Only today, we have another level crossing update. The amount and quality of the info about the railway is the equal, if not better, than many other lines.
    Ian C
     
  14. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    I find comments like this utter tosh. I really can't believe that people can make such comments rather than helping the railway succeed.
    Ian C
     
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  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Isn't HOPS restricted to internal users though? In other words you're talking about internal comms, while this discussion has primarily been about external comms?

    Tom
     
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  16. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Not really. It is an illustration of why this forum has such a poor reputation. It's constant bash-bash-bash. Any wonder people are fed up with it?
    Ian C
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for proving my point.

    Other lines have open and transparent online newsletters that anyone can access, the WSR hides information behind HOPS that limits access.
     
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  18. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    I have reframed from commenting on here for a long while because when I do it usually generates another load of actions from the general direction of the Western side of Somerset to stop me talking, however perhaps it would be positive to inject some opinion into this debate to help all in their thinking.

    Firstly the legal declaration: The following is opinion held in good faith and everything is alleged and open to interpretation so nobody should take anything as fact. I do not intend to defame anybody or any organisation, in fact I wouldn’t listen to a word I write. Who would have thought giving an opinion about a hobby needs this sort of disclaimer, sad times !!!

    Steve, I appreciate that you are a positive, glass half full kind of guy and your positive input to the WSR over the years is beyond doubt, for that you will always have my respect. However some things you have said in this and your last few posts I can’t agree with and I understand you will not be aware of the following otherwise perhaps you won’t have posted as you did.

    1. The Onion Collective, a great bunch of people who have achieved amazing things. I reached out to them and other parts of the community during by HPC Grant Application process in 2018 just before the current PLC Board came into being. They had no relationship with the WSR at that time because most of the local community groups found the WSR difficult to talk to and work with. However they were keen and supported the HPC Bid, as did Minehead Eye, local schools, Parish Councils and every sub-group on the WSR, including the S&DRT. However most of these local community organisations were wary of the WSR given past history of the WSR not working with people for the community good in their opinion. But the HPC Grant was a good start and all were prepared to be on board and work together

    2. However all of these groups took one huge step backward when the HPC Project was awarded and the money given but the project did not happen and answers as to how the money was used remained unanswered. The WSR management sending solicitors letters to a local Primary School as one of the main Project supporters threatening legal action on various fronts unless they stopped asking where the money had been used (which was given to allow local school kids trips on the WSR) and the way a local MP was treated in the local press when he asked questions about the project sent a very powerful message to the whole Community and the Groups within it. Actions I’m afraid have conquesnce, so as far as I’m aware the local community groups have since given the WSR a wide berth with a number of them post HPC Project saying directly to me “I told you so”, as have the grant funding group I had met and discussed the next £1 Million grant for the WSR from (they had the money available and were willing to invest). This information is of course a year or so out of date so perhaps they have all made up since then but in 2020 the WSR stood alone in the Community.

    3. In an earlier post you stated that some WSR Volunteers have “expectations beyond the average person” and “Anyone can still be here if they chose”. I’m sorry I can’t agree with either of these statements and it smacks of again people blaming others for their own actions. Giving my own personal example I don’t feel my expectations were too high, I was a Fireman who was happy firing, I became a fundraiser for the WSRA because they asked me too and I raised £168k in the first year and had the next £1 Million confirmed in principal (yes the £1M per year figure used today came from a paper I wrote for the WSR in 2019) and all was going well. It’s when the new PLC Board came in and decided that I needed to raise £1M for a certain large GWR steam engine as a standalone project not for the WSR and the future direction of the WSR was sold to me as it being a private company owned by one person. I stated I didn’t agree with that direction, then I was removed without process, warning, or even notification or appeal and had no option of remaining on the WSR. What I did get was bullied, attacked by an external HR Consultant for weeks, my standing damaged with my fellow volunteers, called Mentally Unstable, told the ORR had decided I was not fit to operate on any railway and offered a roll around on the platform to sort it out (the only offer I had to return as a Volunteer). Others since have allegedly suffering a similar fate including the most recent four people who have had external HR Consultants consider their actions in standing for WSSRT Election at great expense to the PLC, leading to three of the four not being volunteers anymore.

    4. The current WSR Chairman did go on record to all when he joined to make it clear that “Troublemakers will be removed from the WSR” and all agreed to that so in fairness he did what he said he was going to do, all supported his actions so it is at the feet of every Stake Holder of the WSR not just one person. However the definition of ‘Troublemaker’ is the issue here and that is for you and all the other Stake Holders to take responsibility for. All I can say is I had no expectations and I stated in writing after I disagreed and said I wouldn’t join the WSR Boards actions and that I just wanted to be left alone to go back to firing steam engines only. However it seemed important to the WSR that I signed an NDA and agreed never to speak out again in any medium and I was removed because I refused.

    5. The four most recent people who have been found as allegedly ‘bringing the WSR into dispute’ and removed or silenced were all long standing volunteers who seemed to get on well over the last 40 years (110 years of WSR volunteering between the four of them), no-doubt they like you dis-agreed with others, said their piece freely, had strong opinions and fallings out over the that time. There is no issue with that and is great and as it should be, they stayed for all that time (40 years in 2 cases) so perhaps their expectations were not too high either? However it’s the last 3 years where things have changed and now they also find themselves without a hobby because they stood for election to the Board of a Trust they were members of, in-line with the Articles of that Trust and stood for Members vote on an agenda they were clear about. Yet they were not only stopped but the PLC as a separate organisation spent circa £28k (WSR published figure) up to the end of March 21 in doing that. In addition given the events after financial year end the final figure could be according to rumour double that in the next set of accounts. Perhaps the costs will equal the amount fund raised to date in the latest appeal, so thanks to all who gave their cash.

    6. My expectation in this was clear, I wanted to enjoy a hobby, meet people and have some fun whilst contributing to the WSR to give a feeling of achievement. My expectation was I would give something back rather than just fire steam engines and fund raise and do that as a volunteer for free. Yes I expect push back, robust opinion and debate and even fallings out, because that’s the nature of it when passionate people get together. What I didn’t expect was to be bullied, receive personal attacks, have my family attacked, solicitors letters and WSR SMT going to other railways (the last occasion was only 6 weeks ago) saying I was poison and should never be allowed on any railway ever. As a result I’ve given up, I’ve now left the Heritage Railway environment altogether.

    7. Me stopping involvement isn’t at the door of one person, if it had have been it would have been easy to deal with, it is because through all of this nobody stood up for me despite requests from many, including the WSRA (who threw me overboard) & HRA (who wouldn’t even answer my complaint). It’s just not worth the hassle or my efforts given all have sat by and let me and others be treated this way.

    8. I find it rather ironic that I have over 15 years of experience on heritage railways with 6 on the WSR and was giving 80 days a year to the WSR. The ‘four’ have circa 110 years WSR Volunteering and gave circa 250 days a year between them. Now the WSR comes on here and state they are short of volunteers and give a ‘call to action’ as Rodney did a few pages back. All railways are short, many people have retired or left due to Covid, and the age profile of Volunteers is such that a volunteer crisis in the industry is nearly on top of everybody so it’s right the WSR should be calling for new people, it’s just how it wastes its current people is for me the irony.

    I just want to disappear and find a hobby where I’m welcomed, my time at the WSR is done never to return, so Steve I give this information as opinion only and don’t want to get into a debate about the rights or wrongs of it. Believe me or don’t believe me it doesn’t matter and it won’t make any difference to the outcome on the WSR. As it stands, the PLC is the only option, all Stake Holders are supporting it either by proactively supporting or by doing nothing and not speaking out if they aren’t happy, so the path to success or failure is set.

    However in my opinion now is the 11th hour, so if the Stakeholders of the WSR carry on looking the other way and say (to paraphrase you) “it was like this in 1976 and it was all OK then and we are still here so it will be fine now” you had better be sure you are right as perhaps this time is different and failure is an option as opposed to “we will pull through as we always have”.

    If your positive, upbeat outlook is right then all I’ve done is wasted words here and your time in reading it, but if the issues are deeper, then the decision of a railway or a cycle path is not far away now. I will always hold the view that the support of the Community (groups and people) is key, I can’t subscribe to the view of a future as a commercial business that can make money and just get grant funding to top up will come ‘because’. However a little time now will tell us all if my opinion holds water or not.

    As I say no need to reply or debate of take any more of your time because, after all I’m just a mentally unstable troublemaker who according to the WSR Board the ORR said isn’t fit to be on any railway in the UK (perhaps the ORR would like to comment on that?) so I’m not worth time here and clearly everything I say is “utter rubbish and I’m not fit to sit on any Board, anywhere” to quote a current PLC Board Member.

    My last word goes to the Mod’s, thank you for your efforts on Nat Pres as a bit up thread you were criticised and that’s unfair. It’s a thankless job you do and I’m sorry for this post as no-doubt it will be reported asking for its removal and that’s just going to give you more work, sorry.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  19. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Oh well, I guess I should have also noted
    The platform
    WSRHT newsletters
    WSRA journal
    Facebook pages
    etc
    Ian C
     
  20. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    So who hasn't already made their morning visit to wsr.org.uk then, Tom?

    OK it is not the official site but if folks here really want to get the WSR newsy stuff...it is there. Just bookmark it, visit it regularly and keep yourself up to date. So simple.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     

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