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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. WSR_6960

    WSR_6960 New Member

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    I would suggest you're correct on location Malcolm, but I think the bridge name is incorrect. Quarkhill Bridge being the first bridge in the down direction when leaving Stogumber.

    I think this is an UP train having just departed Stogumber and passing over Norrish Road Bridge ?
     
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    That is correct.

    A rare privilege to see our Railway like this and a delight to be able to share a snap or two.

    Robin
     
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  3. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps New Member

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    Tis true..........never had chance to to edit it out in the sticks at Bicknollor today !!
     
  4. Western Venturer

    Western Venturer Member

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  5. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member

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    Good news regarding the Rail Renewal appeal.

    ''The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust have received a large donation towards the 2019 Rail Renewal appeal, that takes the total over the half way point. Together 51% has so far been raised of the targeted £250,000 for this winter's track works. Work has already begun on the Doniford section of the track and will continue over the winter period''.

    Thanks to wsr.org for the update. Steve, where are you? <BJ>
     
  6. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Instead of simply handing the cash over, the WSSRT could buy shares.

    ……..just sayin'
     
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  7. DragonHandler

    DragonHandler Well-Known Member

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    Probably because the donors gave the money for the rail replacement appeal not for the WSSRT to use to buy shares for itself.
     
  8. jnc

    jnc Member

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    But the money would be used for rail repairs! The suggestion was merely about how channel the money to that end.

    Noel
     
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    No, there’s a subtle distinction in how Restricted (ring fenced) funds work in a charity.

    If I give money with the explicit requirement it will be spent on rail replacement, I would expect the charity to provide the company with a grant for rail replacement (and have some form of mechanism to ensure that was what was done).

    If I give money for rail replacement and the charity instead invests in shares, ultimately the company can use the share income in whichever way it sees fit. Quite likely right now it would see the highest priority as rail replacement - but there is no guarantee, so no guarantee that the donor’s explicit request is honoured.

    The rules around restricted funds are very tight, to the extent that if a donor gives money for a use that realistically can’t be delivered, the charity has to make efforts to return the money where feasible, or else obtain agreement for it to be used for another purpose. (It’s a good thing that the restrictions are tight, since it is one of the areas whereby a donor gains confidence that their donation will be spent on what they wish - and donor confidence is a critical part of effective fundraising).

    Tom
     
  10. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Well-Known Member

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    BBC Points West (BBC1 West) has a report on the WSR financial results at 6.30 this evening.
     
  11. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    While the logic of your statement is undeniable the reality is quite different. Charity law is quite clear on this point. A charity cannot collect money for one thing and then use it for another. Collecting for rail renewal and then buying shares would fall foul of this provision.
    At the moment both charities are working hard to raise the funds and to apply them in a clear and transparent way. In the case of WSRA we are buying materials directly from suppliers and gifting them to the railway. Easy then to demonstrate we've correctly used the donations.
     
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  12. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    I take it that your Charities enjoy the same trade discounts that the Company may have?
    Would it be better to let the railway purchase what it needed, then to be reimbursed by the Charities?
    Taking note of the Ring Fenced funds.

    Why 2 Charities?
     
  13. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member

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  14. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Well-Known Member

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    The evening report was a little longer than lunchtime's. It includes a contribution from the WSRA Chairman.
     
  15. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Is the charity able to reclaim the VAT?
     
  16. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    Can I make a single comment, albeit a rather involved one!

    The BBC report refers to 'This year's Loss' - in fact, the accounts cover 15 months. The 'additional' 3 months - January to March 2019 - saw almost no train operations and hence no income (as is generally the case for most lines, but this particular period saw even fewer operations than normally the case for the West Somerset Railway).

    Based on total costs in the 2017 accounts of just under £3.5 million, 3/12th of this is around £870,000. Of course, some costs directly relate to train miles run and hence would be very low for that 3 month period. WSRplc doesn't file detailed accounts at Companies House, but from what is filed, in 2017, Rolling Stock Hire was £264k. There would be coal (£150k?) and cost of goods sold by Commercial Operations, along with any season wages. However, there would be heavier expenditure on materials for infrastructure and rolling stock repairs than is possible when trains are running. The 2017 figures, with their profit after tax of £12k, also includes income from Legacies and Grants totalling £101k, which cant be assumed to be repeated.

    So, if we say 1/4 of costs aren't incurred during the 'closed season', but that without 'exceptional' Incomes the previous year would have been a loss of £88k, then a 15 month period with no extra income to speak of but 1/4 more for all other costs would produce a loss of nearly £3/4 million. The figure reported by the BBC is £806k. The wage bill is reported as £1.25m compared with about £1 million in 2017, but, again, is this largely due to the longer period?

    A financially serious situation but one where the vast majority of the worsening is explained by the longer period or one-off items shielding the poor performance in the previous year.

    None of which hides the fact that the level of expenditure necessary on infrastructure cannot be funded from trading near break-even. This is not unique to West Somerset but elsewhere has a much more highly developed means of supporters being able to subsidise 'their' line operating as they enjoy.

    Steven
     
  17. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Interesting to see the reduction in running days, in particular Mondays & Fridays
     
  18. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

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    Hmm. Is a charity, that hopefully has wrested gift aid from the donator, buy shares from its own wholly owned operating company? Sounds rather nepetitious to me.
     
  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Having done the work paid for by the donor though could the operating company then give the donor shares in exchange?
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    How does that help?

    People seem to be getting confused between buying shares and making a donation.

    Hypothetically, if I actually want shares in the WSR Plc I can buy them directly. If instead I choose to donate to the WSSRT or WSRA, then I’d rather think it was obvious I was consciously making a choice that I didn’t want shares in exchange for my donation.

    Donating via a charity has a couple of advantages. For the railway there is potentially a financial advantage (via Gift Aid). For the donor, the advantage is a high assurance that they can choose to fund precisely the appeal they want (whether that is track, locos, vintage carriages or whatever). By contrast, if you buy shares you have no control over how the plc uses the money, except a residual control as a tiny minority of the voting at AGMs.

    Tom
     
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