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West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Would it not have been sensible to say ‘we have decided to put this issue to one side while we concentrate on navigating the railway through the current situation.’

    That strikes me as a very risky situation and would point to the financial situation being worse than otherwise expected.

    Every now and again you see a charity in the news where there has been poor management and a punch up over the running of the charity. I can’t think of any organisation that hasn’t blundered at some point in their history by appointing someone ill equipped and incapable of managing the organisation they are supposed to run.

    Note to the WSR - Sports Direct is not a management behaviour model to follow.
     
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  2. baldbof

    baldbof Well-Known Member

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    ....and are hide-bound by adherence to political correctness. Of all the comments aimed at the current PLC management, I don't think adherence to political correctness has been one of them.
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    What I find rather saddening is the there were several things such as walking the line when he became chair & the statement on Coronavirus which JJP got very right
     
  4. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    It would have been, and I agree they should.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    But then we wouldn't have had anything to bitch about for the last few weeks...:)
     
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  6. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    The statement is on #25249. It states the PLC gained their agreement that they [the Plc] should be the one to approach SCC to enquire if they might sell the freehold to the Railway. They're important differences and I think it would be prudent to stick to what was said.

    "As part of this restructuring, the Company Chairman discussed with the Chairs of the WSRA and West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT) if it was worth a general enquiry to the Council to again understand if they would sell the freehold to the Railway. Owning the freehold would be a tangible asset to be used to secure an overdraft, which at that point seemed likely to be needed. It was agreed that the company should see if SCC was prepared to consider this initially, and the issue, which was also commercially sensitive, was not discussed more widely at that stage. The Council was not however prepared to consider such a transaction. In February 2020, the WSR plc chairman again approached the SCC to enquire about the purchase of the Freehold."

    Without going too far down the route of Kremlinology:

    1. It does imply the freehold would be used to secure an overdraft but doesn't overtly say whether or not that was part of the WSRA and WSST agreement to approach SCC, nor who would hold the freehold, nor who would have the overdraft.
    2. It doesn't say whether the WSRA and WSST were aware of, or agreed, the second approach in February 2020.
    Whether individuals think these are important questions or not comes down to their opinion I guess, but I'd be careful of inferring too much.

    Patrick
     
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  7. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    the trouble is we often view everything in Binary terms , good or bad . Life is not like that and where someone has done something good then the plaudits are due . Sometimes a policy of recognising the good things encourages them to focus on delivering more
     
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  8. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    But why not make such an approach through the medium of the PDG? After all, the SCC had already made it clear that any sale proposal would be done by that route?
     
  9. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    More to the point, the PDG hasnt met since December(?) 2018, why?
     
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  10. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    They also have proper HR policies too
     
  11. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    Probably not, but AFAIK, the chairman and most of the current Plc board have their background in business. Indeed, I believe this was one of the reasons why the current chairman was chosen.
     
  12. Piggy

    Piggy New Member

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    So ?
     
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  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    There is something of a fetish for having people from ‘business’ on boards of not-for-profit businesses. ‘They work in business, they must know how to run a large volunteer heritage organisation that has a lot of problems and issues.’

    I am curious as to evidence of the board’s previous business experience when it comes to:

    • Dealing with regulation, health and safety, record keeping
    • Running a very long railway line in need to extensive repairs
    • Managing a company through financial difficulty
    • Managing a large volunteer workforce and strong personalities
    • Dealing with complex internal bureaucracy and effectively managing people.

    You know evidence of the ability to deal with the major issues that the line faces and that would be marked as ‘essential’ on any evaluation of the candidates’ suitability.

    It would be a terrible thing if the people inviting people onto the board had just been seduced by the idea that getting someone with a ‘business’ background would be the solution to all the lines woes.
     
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  14. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    After all the shenanigans with the Ex 6 SCC made it abundantly clear that they would deal with the PDG regarding any sale of the freehold. That was no secret, many people currently in positions of authority were well aware of it and even part of the discussions that agreed it. So why would the WSRA or WSSRT even bother to discuss this with the Plc? The Plc should have been told in no uncertain terms that if they wanted to explore buying the freehold they should do so through the PDG as the agreed point of contact.

    Who would buy the freehold? Well, who wants the money from any further loans to keep the company going - if not the Plc?

    It's not so much that the Plc wanting to buy the freehold that's worrying me (SCC have already put them in their place) It is the suggestion that both the WSRA and the WSSRT were happy to enter into discussions about this knowing full well that it should have been through the PDG and completely (deliberately?) ignoring that fact - as though they don't consider the PDG relevant any more. Hence my question of who is supporting what...
     
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  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I agree, that seems to be the most concerning thing. At least with a recalcitrant WSRA board there was only one board that required changing. But given the WSRA and WSSRT support for the current Plc management style we must conclude that either they are enthusiastically in favour of it or they failed to convince the Plc board that they were going about it the wrong way, and don't want to rock the boat. Changing the Plc board by way of an EGM is impossible without support from the WSSRT and WSRA, so anyone wishing to do so now faces the prospect of trying to force on EGM of both the WSSRT and WSRA to install trustees more willing to tackle the problem before you even get to addressing the headline act. That seems extremely unlikely to happen from where I'm sat, so I really am stumped as to where the WSR as a whole goes from here.

    I'm just glad I'm not involved, because I'd be faced with the serious dilemma of do I abandon the WSR and go somewhere else, but watch the railway I'd put so much time into steadily go into decline from afar, or stay on to fight for what was right, but how? At least with the X6 you could sign a petition, campaign for an EGM, and eventually vote in it. I see no rational route to effect change this time. Other than the rather nuclear option of trying to organise a strike, a suggestion which I have scorned on NatPres numerous times, and in any case for the foreseeable future is going to be pretty difficult to notice anyway!
     
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  16. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    A strike? Just where do you suppose there is the slightest desire amongst the WSR volunteers for a "strike"? A strike would kill off this Railway for good. Here's a better idea. Come and join us. You might find some of the untruths perpetuated on this forum don't exist. And you can help steer the Railway to a better place. You don't need a staff ID to be part of the WSR. We need help not destruction. Dare to be a Daniel. How about it?

    Steve
     
  17. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Generally the people at the top of heritage railway management don't often have the skill set to deal with complex matters, so they in turn, turn to the business world, who again may not have the right set of skills either, as a business has to perform to the wishes of not just the market, but its shareholders, and the accountants. and many are not suited to volunteer lead enterprises
     
  18. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Wow! A message to a GWSR supporter to join the WSR. Now that's an interesting suggestion and one that could generate a not very complimentary 'compare and contrast' thread so I wouldn't go there if I were you having visited both railways enough times to have a view.

    And that's not to say that everything has always been sweetness and light in Gloucestershire. We all remember the controversy over the Broadway station canopy and vehemence of views from those who struggled with the decision of the Board. But the talking continued, everyone remained engaged in a meaningful way and, to an outsider, the railway moved on with a shared interest in the ultimate goal.

    Sound different?
     
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  19. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    How ever, unlike the WSR, the GWSR did listen to those dissenting voices, saw the error of their ways, agreed that they got it wrong, and moved on, had that been the WSR, I bet there would have been mass expulsions .
    I now believe the WSR actually deserves those it has leading it, to destruction, because so various, and deep are the problems, only a complete ground up re birth, with none of the people who are to blame involved in any new organisation is the only option, i hate to actually say that it needs to close, but that will be what it would take, no WSRA, no WSST, NO aggressive PLC, All three are to blame, they are the problem, and not the answer.
     
  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    945AAE7E-8106-4837-8B43-33A18B15B41D.jpeg Comparisons are odious. All heritage railways are different - that’s the joy of it. And we can always learn from and help each other. I value beyond rubies the connections and friends I have across the movement. Here I am on (a rather chilly) Broadway opening day in 2018 hanging the reproduction GWR clock I had just sign written for the Broadway team in Broadway booking hall. (I’m not a G&WSR member, btw.)

    The recently released WSR plc letter dealing with the FOI request which revealed the approach to SCC by the WSR plc Chairman includes: 'As part of this restructuring, the Company Chairman discussed with the Chairs of the WSRA and West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT) if it was worth a general enquiry to the Council to again understand if they would sell the freehold to the Railway. ... 'It was agreed that the Company should see if SCC was prepared to consider this initially...’

    This was puzzling to me. I took time to check with the then Chairman of the WSRA who recalls no such conversation. There was certainly no discussion with the Trustees generally of which I was part and no agreement by the WSRA that this approach should be made, let alone supported.

    Clearly someone’s recollection must be faulty.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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