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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    It seems the WSR will be hosting Saphos tour locomotives over the summer next year, as many of their summer trips the locomotive joins at Taunton, nice bit of business by the plc.
     
  2. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    No idea why you've written that. My comment which you have quoted was about a post upthread relating to a NP poster who'd had experience with charity conversions, but none of which seemingly involved an independent commercial company, let alone one with a LRO, conversion of which to something like the 'Bailey' proposal, might be rather different and with different costs. Perhaps you have an idea?

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    No. As per usual, you either misunderstood, misread or didn't bother to read the original comment, jumped in, got it wrong, and now won't admit to being wrong. The WSR in a nutshell.

    But well done on managing today to do what almost every other railway in the land manages to do as a matter of course. Small steps and credit where credit it due. But doing it once in a blue moon doesn't refute the original point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  4. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    What a shocking list! You have my sympathy.

    In a very small way I experienced unacceptable behaviour from someone in charge of a department on a railway, applying ever more pressure for me to leave. Finally he cancelled my training, and refused to have my work permit renewed. I eventually spoke to the volunteer liaison officer, who said there was no process to deal with it.
    The problem eventually solved itself when the person resigned.
    I am still there :)

    In my 50 years of volunteering there have been many ups and downs, and you can't get on with everyone, it's human nature. But that event marked a low point. And there was no process, and I suspect there still isn't.
     
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  5. 5914

    5914 Member

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    One of the charities referred to was a heritage railway, and required sorting out novation of various leases, and sorting out an LRO, LR(E)O and TWAO...
     
  6. 5914

    5914 Member

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    An independent commercial company can only be independent if it can finance its operations, ongoing activities and future development.

    The Bailey proposal was to refinance using charitable structures, which would inevitably have led to stakeholder, rather than shareholder (which often actually equals director) control. That such a process could have been managed for a significantly reduced figure than that quoted indicates the fact that the plc wished to remain independent rather than follow the Bailey proposal. Otherwise, with co-operation and a positive approach, the process would undoubtedly have been achievable.

    To the relatively casual outside observer, this does mean that the plc would seem to be committed to refinancing either by achieving overall (rather than just operating) profitability, or finance by other independent means. However, its would have more integrity if the plc were to say that it wanted to remain independent, and that it had no interest in a charitable structure, rather than using the cost of establishing such a structure as a reason.
     
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  7. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Blimey. I've just looked back at this particular topic (and just as a reminder, the "original point" was yesterday's issuing of an update about Seaward Way) and it is clear it is you who "jumped in, got it wrong, and now won't admit to being wrong".

    Thanks for the accolade. I think you'll find information is made available externally on a regular basis, but if you choose to do a 'Nelson', well. What a shame you can't bring yourself to acknowledge that fact. But then, it would spoil your fun, I guess. MM in a nutshell.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk



     
  8. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Erm no. My OP was not to do with Seaward Way. So you were responding to the wrong thing. C'est la vie.

    On the subject of regularly available updates - how are the promised weekly fundraising updates going?

    It is funny how you cry about how mean everyone is but the person who is making it personal is you not me, while telling us all the time about how the WSR is just a poor innocent victim of a beastly forum.

    Here's the thing, in the midst of the conversation yesterday there was a discussion about content, there were a number of things pointed out by different people about making creating content more easier. I suggested some things that can be done in an hour and maybe would take a week of testing/practice that could facilitate getting content to you, now maybe you do it already and my suggestion is redundant (it is blindingly obvious to me and common place that I'd find it hard to imagine that you don't already do it, but as it hasn't been mentioned I can't be certain). But when there is a simple offer of a suggestion of help, you'd rather ignore it and go for the person because they dared to be critical of your beloved WSR. But that's your choice not mine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  9. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    A predictable response. Chock-a-block of criticism of me. Just like your earlier post. You always go for the person. And still you claim you are not being personal. What a joke. And you still miss the point that it is the Plc who manage their website, not people like me, so your ideas need to be lobbed in the Plc's direction if you want things to be tried. You are getting at the wrong people. I'll not waste time responding further as you clearly think you are always right. Best to just let you rant on. Hey ho.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
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  10. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    That's handy. But it doesn't sound like the structure that is the "WSR". I guess that heritage railway you refer to probably (?) was not run exclusively by a commercial company with no formal links to any charity. The Plc holds all the cards as it is entitled to. So any change to a 'Bailey' type structure depends first on the Plc agreeing to change, then going about it. I think there's enough detail out there already to work out all the ins and outs, so if it is less then £100K, would you have an estimate at how much it would cost to change the present structure to a membership-based single charity with its commercial arm? Your experiences and estimates will help us lobbyists.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Nope, I went for the PLC to begin within my OP. Then you made it personal. If you choose to make it personal then I will respond in kind. Choice is yours.

    Because I am not into the WSR BS of knowledge is power and cache, my suggestion is very simple for you as the person who wants more content - I've not seen it mentioned but do you use forms software ie MS forms or google forms as a way of capturing content? At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs. You can set up a basic proforma in 15 mins that people can fill in as many times as they like as long as they have the link. All the info is automatically captured in a spreadsheet ( you can set it to group certain information ie workshop updates - ideal if you have say 5 different groups doing stuff). Personal experience points to higher response rates than if you ask people to email their news. Easier to manage for the person tasked with collating and putting up the information - and a much less cluttered in box. It's a real time saver and at the same time improves the flow of information.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Gosh, you're being very picky Steve! :) You won't find anyone who has reformed an organisation with exactly the same structure as the WSR, because there isn't one. but it sounds like @5914 's is as close as you can get, and that's no reason to think he would be unable to appreciate all the detail - it's called transferable skills. There really was no excuse for the Plc not to take up that offer, it sounded ideal to me. Unless they were just going through a charade the whole time with respect to reform to keep the masses quiet for a while, so they had a chance to kick out the noisiest ringleaders.
     
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  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    What do you find to disagree with in @johnofwessex's post? Are you disputing the old maxim, where there's a will there's a way? Do you seriously believe that the Plc wants anything to change in the structure of the railway and, if not, why are you trying to persuade us that it is the case? Despite your assumption that he is, @johnofwessex doesn't say that he is waiting to hear that the receivers have been called in with glee. I suspect, like you and I, he is awaiting it with a certain amount of dread. After what happened to the Llangollen and after the failure of the appeal to raise even a tenth of the amount that the directors themselves said was vital to the survival of the railway, you have to admit, that calling in the receivers is now a possibility.
    Do you really think that, because many people give their time and money to the railway for no material return, it is above any criticism? Do you really think that pointing out where someone or something is going wrong is not helping them succeed? What if no-one ever pointed when anything was going wrong, wouldn't that be a perfect world? In any case the two things are not mutually exclusive, it's only on the WSR and similar organisations that those helping the railway succeed, the volunteers, are not allowed to point out what's wrong, like in the story of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and his adverse encounter with the Scilly Isles.
     
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  14. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    "Things to do in Somerset" is here: https://www.holidaycottages.co.uk/blog/things-to-do-somerset , still with no mention of the WSR, and there is still no mention of the railway in the descriptions of Kilve, StAudries, Blue Anchor or Minehead beaches. As I said, I get more response from making these points on Nat Pres.
     
  15. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Steve, to try and give you something logical to lobby on surely a re-structure is simple. There is a PLC and there is a Charity who already hold WSR Assets, have a structure, Members to control it and an amount of financial reserves, it’s called the WSRA. So all you have to do is get the PLC shares from the WSSRT and individual shareholders gifted to the WSRA and job done.

    No change in LRO, no real costs, no time delay, no change of structure or new Charity which needs funding to a large amount. The only thing stopping it are people saying no.

    Now I’m sure many will immediately give me a hundred reasons why that would never work but I’m sure most of those reasons would always come back to people and their position, power and ability. But take a step back, take the people out of the equation and look just at what is trying to be achieved: An operating company who have a Charity who govern, strategically manage, set the high level KPI’s and perhaps hold assets to keep them safe.

    For the record my opinion is that many people on all sides would have to be brave and stand aside for the good of the WSR and new people would have to be found who are capable to take it forward, but that’s a smaller problem than a £100k re-structure to generate a new charity and fund it (which only replicates what is already there) and/or change the LRO.

    Am I missing something or if you take away the poison, passion, mistrust and people hating each other away and just look what’s already in place and view them as just inanimate organisations there to do a job for the good of the WSR ?

    The alternative is to talk about doing it and kicking the can down the road for another 10 years, or of course until the Receivers decide the future for you.
     
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  16. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    At the moment the position on the WSR fills me with nothing but dread.

    I want the line to survive

    Whatever else you think of the railway, its like being on the Big Railway, the journey takes time, you get the variety of scenery, you go up hill and down dale - twice, through woods, fields and along the coast. Decent length trains - 6 or 7 coaches. Decent sized loco with its work cut out, it requires about 750DHP on the banks in places.

    A while back @Andy Norman spoke lyrically about the joys of firing on the WSR, something that required effort and skill and that had to kept up for an hour and a half or so, like the old boys did.

    I like to compare it to a pub meal, not necessarily Haute Cuisine but simple food well cooked and plenty of it.

    So @ikcdab may I have the courtesy of a reply to my questions?

    And @Steve Edge I appreciate all you do for the WSR, I understand where you are coming from and I for one do not wish to criticise you but support you.
     
  17. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Back in the 90s I volunteered for the WSR and found, to my disappointment, it had a "them and us" culture and it appears to have continued to have a "them and us" culture to this day. The WSRA can never be the overarching charity, because, if you are the Plc or a supporter of the Plc, the WSRA is "them" and "they" cannot be allowed to "win". It's as simple as that. That is why the WSR is in the position it is today and that is why there will be no change to the structure of the railway this side of bankruptcy.
     
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  18. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    This "Us and Them " attitude only goes so far to explain the issue, On top of that is the personal hatreds of other board members and others, and add into the mix an degree of empire building, and person agenda, and that's one very toxic brew, no one trusts each other, some of it based on historical problems, WSRA going behind the PLC'S back, to try to buy the freehold, the WSRST wanting to do its own thing, and being used by the present PLC board to stop any thing that is seen as a threat to certain peoples grip on power, then you have the added problem of people who are clearly not skilled in the use of diplomatic language, and see everything as being against them personally in positions of power, Clearly there can be no movement forward, and at the same time, these people can't be removed easily, only an external body, threatening everything, will have such clout, and even then, they still won't budge, it really is a no body wins, everyone loses scenario, Some say, " support the PLC, Its the only way, " But all you would be doing is to strengthen those same peoples hands, nothing will change, there will be no road to damacus enlightenment, Only, more of the same, My heart would love to see the needed change happen, but my head says, with the same people leading, it won't, and can't, only an enforced change, or facing total closure will make people realise, they have made mistakes, and seek to change the board, but by then, it most likily will be too late .
     
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  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    In one respect of course those who say that the PLC need to lead they way are right, because it is only the PLC that can change things and of course given the every immediate issues over Covid they are the people who can act now.

    But will they and why not?

    I have an idea but will anyone on the inside give a view?
     
  20. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Those responsible (the 6+1) were eventually removed and the PDG was put in place to prevent any chance of it happening again. The current Dear Leader has tried the very same thing, bypassing the WSRA and the PDG. If that sort of behaviour was reprehensible then, it must therefore follow that it is reprehensible now.

    Anyway, has the highly confidential planned use for Washford been revealed yet ? I did read that there were plans for a petting zoo and thought that someone was being particularly creative and witty. I am now told that it was a serious suggestion from within the management team.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
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