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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Resident of Nat Pres

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    I thank all those who have offered sage advice in the last few posts. I won't be following it.

    For 40 years now I have been steeped in fair procedure, ED&I and the like. My experience is that NOT outing bullies or those who tolerate them only makes matters worse.

    I HAVE moved on in that I am currently working closely with three heritage railways in one way or another and most weeks get a call from either an aggrieved volunteer or a heritage railway wanting to run a fair process (I had one of those calls from a heritage railway only yesterday.) and I have never yet said 'no' in response to a request for help. After the reprieve from my significant health scare, I am deeply involved in fighting for the rights and interests of LGBTQ folk in the face of a hostile media through both legal and other means and am looking forward to continuing that, hopefully more positively, with the new administration the UK will have from July.

    The current WSR regime is, IMHO, both unrescuable and doomed by its inability to change and broaden its approach as has long been discussed in these pages. Its lack of openness and honesty ought to be a big, big red flag. Indeed, change in Somerset will only come after the inevitable iceberg that the present 'just covering operating costs' regime will not cope with. Some of those icebergs are already on the near horizon and if the binoculars are available to the lookouts and if the bridge crew and Captain Smith have been alerted to the dangers, the passenger alarm has not been sounded, unlike elsewhere in heritage. Time will tell whether that is a good approach. To mix my metaphors, the smoke signals are there to be read, I believe. Change will only come, IMHO, after a significant financial failure. Let us hope the dents in the hull are not too great and the water too near the top of the watertight bulkheads, and the 'California' not too distant when the distress rockets are eventually fired.

    My intention, therefore, is not to bring change to the WSR but to illustrate what happens when inappropriate actions and an inappropriate regime is tolerated. Hopefully, lessons can be learned. What else can I do?

    As I have said, I will keep my comments factual and on 'The Roostery'. There are a couple of new features to this sorry tale of disgusting discrimination, sham disciplinary processes and the fall out which you will get a first flavour of on Friday next with detail to follow.

    I have had a really pleasant BH weekend with a splendid Sunday lunch at a pub with 'Halt' in its name but must now focus on work for a few days. Ill be interested to hear your thoughts after Friday.

    Regards and respects
     
  2. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That’s a fair point. But there is also a difference of principle and degree between what happened to the sub postmasters and exclusion from a private organisation.

    In the latter, there is quite bluntly the question of how well the person excluded can fit in with those remaining. Even where not seeking reinstatement, that may make the excluded person a poor advocate for change to prevent a repeat.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Jon Lever

    Jon Lever New Member

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    Very well put. Since 'moving on' has been mentioned, I think Neville Lawrence's piece in the Guardian today is worth a couple of minutes of anyone's time. Certainly helps to lend perspective:

    Thirty-one years after the murder of my son Stephen Lawrence, I can forgive his killers – but not the Met | Neville Lawrence | The Guardian
     
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  4. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Part of the furniture

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  5. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Part of the furniture

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    There are a few popcorn companies that don’t like your opinion….
     
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  6. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Looking a few miles down the coast there appears to be a major issue with Governance which also includes attacks/expulsion of at least one person.

    In the same way what has happened to Robin & others is, I suggest more a symptom of a governance issue.

    As others have pointed out the WSR by some miracle appears to have turned the corner financially and nobody seems quite sure as to how . Whatever your views on how some people may or may not have been treated it seems to me that this is a question that it would be nice to have a proper answer to.
     
  7. Snifter

    Snifter Well-Known Member

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    I drop in from time to time to read about the excellent work being done by the Gala team etc. (and well done to you Seb !).

    I'm rather baffled that not only is the line now said to be on a proper financial footing, no "big win" or other event has made it into the press. How has this come about ? Has there been a "Miracle of Minehead" or some other unearthly happening that has delivered financial security ?
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    These are your choices, and you do not surprise me in your posting.

    You ask "what else can I do". Given what I know of you, I suspect the answer is "nothing". That does not alter my view, even with the broader framing for Roostery that you posit (and I will read it, with interest), that your better work is in what you do quietly and effectively than in your public campaigning. There are times when a front line campaigner becomes counter-productive; I suspect this is one.
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Reading between the lines, there was a comment on here a few posts back about the railway having 18 operational carriages, down from “22 or 25” six years ago. Given a thorough Mk 1 “roof to rail” overhaul is of the order of £100k and probably needs doing about every 30 years, I suspect some of the “financial miracle” may actually just be downsizing, aka sweating the assets. In other words, as carriages fall due for overhaul, they are being withdrawn but not overhauled.

    Of course, an operational fleet of 18 carriages (sufficient for three trains) may be seen as sufficient given current passenger numbers. But it has also been frequently asserted by those with a close connection to the line that it is about 50,000 passengers short of where it needs to be to be sustainable. Which raises the question - were the railway to get back to 200k + passengers, could it put out enough seats to carry them all (particularly if, as seems likely, the passenger flows are both strongly seasonal and strongly tidal)?

    The list of carriages given as available in #43961 only included three brake coaches. That doesn’t seem very resilient to me - brakes are the most important carriages you have. In the peak summer season when three sets are in use, you are only one forgotten handbrake away from having to cancel trains.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2024
  10. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    And in an ideal world every train should have a brake at each end?
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    If we're recreating historic working practices?
     
  12. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member Friend

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    No... Why?
    Normally the brake is in the middle somewhere. I've never seen regular passenger trains ever run with a brake at each end.
    Ian C
     
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  13. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    If you look at the list of Southern Carriage sets which is linked to here

    https://sremg.org.uk/coach/sets.html

    Many have a brake at each end

    Then there is the GWR B set, two brake composites marshalled brake end out
     
  14. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    I’m assuming he meant on the WSR although not unique to them, the GWSR is another which normally operates with one brake.
     
  15. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Part of the furniture

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    :Stop:

    Given that BCK 21272 has recently left the line and there's another gala coming up, using 5 rakes + HST, I have to strongly disagree.

    GWR BCK 6705 is nearly done, the railway also has BG 80736 (which I mentioned in #43961 and @Robin Moira White never acknowledged) and BSK 35408 which is part of the QB set but is still a fully operational brake.

    So the WSR has 5 and will soon have 6 Brake vehicles to operate between two rakes.

    The DMU may well run the third set for the yellow days in July/August.

    Also, they have vaccum-braked brake vans which could be put into a train in an emergency, and this has happened in the past including the 2010 ASG with Norton shuttles, when it was presumably planned.

    Some railways don't even have an operational spare.

    How many spares should a railway have? Double the maximum number they will ever need? I am sure Dartmouth were running a two train service with one of their BSKs on loan at the SDR a few years ago! They only have 2 BSKs and a BSO... and they are run as a business!! How senseless of them!

    I am guessing here, but I couldn't see one of the railway's BSOs earlier this month (they have 3) so that one may well be in the carriage shed receiving repairs.

    Too many doomsters on this thread.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2024
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  16. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Part of the furniture

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    Nearly all heritage railways operate with only one brake in a train formation. :eek:

    The only one I can think of that sometimes operates with two is the SVR.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2024
  17. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Indeed, I was just giving an example off the top of my head.
     
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  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    It was fairly standard practice to have a brake at either end in the days before nationalisation so that the last vehicle had a handbrake.
     
  19. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    With respect, 6705 has been announced as 'almost ready' for many years.
    In this update it was due to run in 2020
    Obviously covid got in the way of that plan, but if it was being planned to run in 2020, I'm not sure why it is still not in service 4 years later.
     
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  20. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Part of the furniture

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    Yes, until it is in service it is not ready, and I don't think the plan is to treat it the same as the Mk1s, so really it's a bonus carriage. Point is, the WSR have enough brakes.
     

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