If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway Operations

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

  1. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,167
    Likes Received:
    3,797
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    I trust your "Working at Height" competence was in date then ? :)
     
    Sunnieboy likes this.
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    10,195
    Likes Received:
    14,462
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Fortunately, vertigo has never been one of my (many) failings.

    Robin
     
  3. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    15,069
    Likes Received:
    12,222
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A brave post, imo. Hopefully the facts will prevail and will be able to be underwritten by cross-checking. In any dispute or disagreement it is always the way in which what is really going on can be 'grounded'.

    This problem at the WSR is not the same as in politics where the public is at arm's length from the truth and those charged with telling us what is going on are always introducing 'the nuance of spin', safe in the knowledge that they probably will not be found out.

    In the heritage sector it is not like that, cannot be like that and just does not work if it is. Others can decide what is really going on in West Somerset but perhaps the current situation is providing a quieter period when a sensible reality can be established. Let's hope so.
     
    jnc, Sunnieboy, Greenway and 2 others like this.
  4. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    4,830
    Likes Received:
    2,521
    Let's hope the facts become clear before the WSR suffers even more harm than it has already.

    What untruths were those? Please identify them, and please tell us the corresponding true versions.
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,188
    Likes Received:
    29,841
    Location:
    21C102
    ... or fallings, hopefully! :)

    Tom
     
  6. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,788
    Likes Received:
    7,148
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Clearly there is a spin campaign going on, to try and debunk some very obvious truths, that the WSR is deeply flawed in its choices of those it elects to serve at both trustee, and PLC level Robyn White stated, she knew not of any meeting , so the PLC must have only spoken to one, or maybe two trustees, who they saw as tame, willing to comply, that they so readily do not tell the whole truth, and spin, makes them all unfit.
     
    Piggy likes this.
  7. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    5,855
    Likes Received:
    4,037
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Whatever happens though, at the expense of making my point again,

    1. We have no idea what situation the railway will be in after Coronavirus, and
    2. We have no idea what the 'Post Coronavirus' economy will look like

    It might be worth pointing out that there was a polio outbreak in 1956(?) which depressed the UK holiday trade. I suggest that until a vaccine/drugs are widely avalible which wont be 2021 at the earliest we will have very little idea of future trading conditions - possible not until 2025 so the idea of borrowing money either to purchase or against the freehold seems premature.
     
    Sunnieboy and Kinghambranch like this.
  8. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    9,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    And “business” is not always consistent either - as anyone reading today’s press about the deposition of the Chief Exec at Royal Mail yesterday will see.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Blackdown Boy likes this.
  9. Mel Hillman

    Mel Hillman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    260
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Supposedly 'Retired'
    Location:
    Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As the former Secretary to PDG, I have explained this reason several times on this thread over the past few months. At that final meeting it was unanimously agreed that the next meeting (due April 2019) be delayed until the anticipated publication of the ORR Report due about then. The Group could then discuss a 'whole railway' approach to the requirements/recommendations. I resigned as a volunteer in March 2019 due to disagreements over the future management of volunteer recruitment. I cannot therefore comment on actions/non-actions since March 2019. I noted the short-lived statement on various websites in the past week with interest. The Chairmanship of the Group remained with the WSRA representative in this period. I was due to return this weekend as a BL Museum Guide and Learning Assistant with the Steam Trust but obviously other factors have intervened. I will need to continue to isolate as I am in the 70+ with underlying health issues category - the reason I never sought an operational or safety critical role.
     
    Keith Sims, Greenway, Snifter and 3 others like this.
  10. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    3,107
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Nr Bridgwater, Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    In my opinion from first hand experience from within I have to agree totally, a clean sweep is the only way forward to allow a way forward for the WSR, I say that as a WSR Shareholder, a WSR Volunteer and somebody who wants there to be a thriving heritage railway in West Somerset, there for the benefit of the community and its own volunteers.

    Whether people think my views made previously over the last year are right or wrong it has to be said something is very worrying currently, it all just doesn't add up. If you keep alienating people as is the current way then people will not get involved and the railway will die. There are further current, new alienation's happening now which I can't go into, but will play out over time and there is a direction of travel that in my opinion just can't turn the WSR around.

    The WSR has to be a place people want to come, where it is safe for them to enjoy a hobby, a pastime or even just a visit. As has been said recently volunteering on the WSR is brilliant, its a fantastic railway and I for one would like to take @Steve Edge up on his offer of joining in, but along with others can't because you do need an ID Card as it also carries with it insurance cover and an authority for you to be an active on site WSR Volunteer.

    One day, perhaps it will again be a safe place, a place where you can give your views in safety without fear of removal and a place where there are HR policies in place to protect everybody on all sides to ensure all enjoy what it is they come to do. Of course at the core of that the Freehold needs to be safe, safe from any one or small group of people, safe from a commercial company going bust, safe from commercial interest and safe for future generations to enjoy and for West Somerset to benefit from. That was the plan SCC set out clearly back in 2015, they seemed to have repeated it again recently twice to elements within the current management, it just seems the 'gang of three' don't seem to be listening and that brings me full circle back to your point: Who is a part of the problem and who is a part of the solution ?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
    MellishR, ross, Blue Horizon and 12 others like this.
  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,818
    Likes Received:
    10,660
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Hi Steve,
    As you will note, about strikes I said a) they are a rather nuclear option and b) I have poured scorn on the suggestion on NatPres numerous times when others have suggested it, both in this thread and others (I think it came up during the GWSR Broadway disagreement). I don't think it's a viable option. I mentioned it merely to illustrate how out of ideas I was as to a viable way forward to effect the change that is desperately needed.

    What are the untruths perpetuated on this forum please? I've not seen any posts saying that it's not pleasant on the WSR volunteering on a day-to-day basis, in fact very much the opposite. Even those people that have been summarily kicked out; @Andy Norman and @Maverick have both said how much they enjoyed their volunteering, miss it terribly, and if they could go back they would.

    Whilst volunteering on the WSR is not a practical proposition for me at the moment, I could see a time in the future where I might be able to straddle two railways, and I have no doubt that the WSR would be a very jolly place to be for a normal day's volunteering, say as a TTI or guard (I probably would have passed out as guard by now on the GWSR if it wasn't for this damned virus :( ) even throughout this period of instability on the WSR. But that's missing the point. Nowhere has anyone said that working on the ground is not still fun. It is the upper echelons where all the problems are. And in any case I'm sceptical after my postings on here I'd be allowed to volunteer anyway under the current regime. I certainly wouldn't get a fair hearing should I do something to the personal dislike of the chairman.

    Others have already noted the comparison with the GWSR so I won't go there too much. But as @Big Al said, we had a couple of disagreements with decisions made by the Plc board. After some activity not unreminiscent of this thread, eventually those decisions were changed, compromises made, and we all went away relatively happy, even if we'd rather we hadn't had to go through all that. It all happened over the space of a couple of months, rather than several years too...
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
    MellishR, big.stu, ghost and 5 others like this.
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,818
    Likes Received:
    10,660
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A chink of light at last! Whilst the contents of this post aren't very encouraging, the fact that it was felt able to be posted at all gives me some cause for hope.
     
    tom-bex, MellishR, jnc and 5 others like this.
  13. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,187
    Likes Received:
    3,034
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Thank you Robin for making the position absolutely crystal clear. I would presume that the WSSRT would be able to give their view and would encourage them to find the resolve to do so. Did the same note from the plc also make spurious claims about this website ? A legal friend once said that when a witness is found to have been lying on one point then the judge and jury tend to doubt anything else they may say.

    If I can re-hash a recent political comment, when the FOI detail was announced, a shiver travelled the length of the line looking for a spine to run up. It found one in Stogumber. Well done.
     
  14. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    706
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Health care assistant/ Grumpy old man
    Location:
    Yeovil
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Wholeheartedly agree Steve, talk of a strike means the writer is totally out of touch with reality. More chance of moving Mt Everest 6 inches to the right.
     
    malcolm imps likes this.
  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,818
    Likes Received:
    10,660
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Please see my post #25351 above.
     
    ghost, Greenway, Matt37401 and 2 others like this.
  16. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    5,855
    Likes Received:
    4,037
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I suggest that a much bigger issue than a strike could be volunteer retention, I imagine in particular that there must be a core of skilled volunteers = @Andy Norman springs to mind who cannot easily be replaced and spend a lot of time on the railway, and if they are either kicked out or drift away as a result of the PLC's behaviour would prove hard to replace.
     
    jnc, nick glanf, Paulthehitch and 2 others like this.
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,558
    Likes Received:
    2,875
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I guess the assumption that the board make is that for most volunteers, they love volunteering to such an extent that they will put up with or ignore anything the board does. Hence they know that they can behave as they have done and kick out any dissenters with absolutely no cost.

    Clearly, they believe that there is no shortage of skilled volunteers or wouldbe volunteers, and that the best and brightest, won't decide to head to the ESR, AVR, GWSR, SDR, DFR or L&B etc instead, so there will never be a skills shortage at the WSR that would result in critical gaps appearing.

    To be honest, the drip drip drip loss of volunteers is far more damaging to the line than anything else because of its insidious nature, your working parties get smaller, finding people do jobs large and small becomes harder, things take longer.
     
    MellishR, jnc and Roland Bushell like this.
  18. Downline

    Downline New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2020
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The main problem with the present WSR Plc board is generally not the direction and decisions they are taking, but the way they carry out these decisions and how they justify them. Robins post clearly demonstrates this to me. That is what is loosing them support and causing endless discussions on forums like this about them.

    Take Washford, yes it would be a great shame for the SDRT to leave, but if the WSR Plc presented it across in a more friendly, amicable, and justified way, less people would be upset and angry over the decision. Your going to have volunteers and supporters who agree and disagree with every decision they make, the way you make them decisions dictate whether those who disagree with your decision will support you.

    The NYMR programme highlighted this, but Heritage Railways all across the UK can only survive on the goodwill of people, whether that be by volunteering or by making donations to the railway. To do that they need to be open and honest with everyone, not just within a tight knit circle. The WSR Plc are defiantly not open and honest, trying to claim commercial sensitivity over a discussion with Somerset County Council which they will know can be found out with a simple freedom of information request is a great example. The board may be able to operate like this in there own businesses, but they don't have to work with a majority workforce of volunteers who can decide whether they want to do something or not at the flick of a switch.

    I don't think its fair to suggest that people are removed from the Plc board, but I would like to suggest they get someone on there pretty damn quick to act as there representative, someone who isn't going to throw accusations out into the public without thinking about it. At present I don't feel the chairman, vice chairman, or the writer of letters 'from the board' are nowhere near qualified in this basic life skill (these are the people who have been issuing letters into the public domain this year from what I have seen). For me that would solve some of there present problems, before you begin to question there financial actions...
     
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,103
    Likes Received:
    2,851
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Given that many who still volunteer on the WSR travel large distances to get there, it is not inconceivable that other lines, as suggested in post 25357, might be far more appealing. No one suggests the lack of bonhomie among volunteers - in fact that is probably why many stay there - but eventually the oversight of the line must become a factor in the question of staying or leaving. I suspect most of the appeal donations are made from those directly, in whatever way, with the line. Judging by the monies raised elsewhere - even on some relatively small lines - a more amicable outlook will be needed before the large sums of money that are needed will be forthcoming.
    There does seem, if the comments being made by the PLC are a guide, a gulf between what most observers and those 'in the know' believe and what the PLC believes.
     
    MellishR and Monkey Magic like this.
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,188
    Likes Received:
    29,841
    Location:
    21C102
    I think many railways are going to struggle for volunteers post Covid-19. Partly that will be because - tragically, but inevitably - some will have died; but of far more importance is that I think many people will use 2020 as a kind of break point in their lives; reassessing what they wish to do. If you have perforce developed new interests during this year, maybe the motivation to get up a 5am to get cold and wet under a locomotive raking out ash might not be there for some people. Quite easy to imagine that there will be many volunteers in their sixties and seventies who have maybe done a twenty or thirty year shift at the coal face thinking "do you know what, I've had my fun, I've done my bit, I'm not going back."

    Of course, that does make volunteer retention, and the degree to which volunteers are made to feel welcome and valued, as even more critical, because I suspect there will be plenty of competition for those who still wish to continue, and for new people wishing to start.

    Tom
     
    MellishR, Romsey, 26D_M and 13 others like this.

Share This Page