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  • Taunton - WSR shuttle starts: July 27, 2019
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Author Topic: West Somerset Railway - heritage line, Bishops Lydeard to Minehead - merged topic, ongoing discussion  (Read 159167 times)
grahame
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« Reply #300 on: November 21, 2019, 04:34:11 pm »

The days of special trains to holiday camp stations every summer weekend - Heads of Ayr, Filey, and Penychain are gone. The idea of a new branch into Minehead Butlins so that trains take people either there or to a public station (but not both) would have the disadvantage of diluting the services to both so that both would fall below the threshold of being frequent enough to be attractve

A "simple platform" - an intermediate station on the running line would make huge sense, with a gate into the back of the camp. An exit off the end of the platform onto Seaward Way would also allow access from outside Butlins.  Now - I recall one of the concerns about running a National Rail service at time that the old Minehead heritage station is not staffed was the security of that site and all the things there.  Simples - terminate the National Rail service at "Alcombe" except during the day in summer.  There's a footpath along parallel to the station yard, and a place that's open from early to late for a coffee right by Alcombe station exit.

At the other end of the line ... I understand that there's a lot of signalling stuff now in place where the up relief used to run, and some goon has half-filled the bay platform too.   It would cost £££ to add extra safety features to the heritage stock (look at the issues faced for Swanage to Wareham) to the natural approach is to run an National Rail train on the shared tracks, not a WSR train by a company looking to get back on its feet and really not with the robust resources to take on that extra project.   The other benefits of a national train are ...
* Just one extra train needed for a 2 hour service - and that a standard one
* No need for a unit in hand to cover failure just on the one line
* No extra maintenance depot / lot of staff knowing National Rail standards and holding spares - all done at St Phiips or Exeter
* Through services, easy(ier) through ticketing
* Driver / train manager who are employed to work all sorts of odd shifts all year
* Financial support mechanism to roll the inevitable immediate funding gaps into the franchise settlement

On volunteer time ... ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) recons that for every £1 spent on volunteers they get £4.20 of good / time back.  Yes, I can believe that. But at the same time, paid staff (for the most part, especially full time) have their lives built around their job role whereas volunteers are much more fickle and harder to manage - much keener and active when available, but sorting out availability can be interesting.
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« Reply #301 on: November 21, 2019, 08:01:07 pm »

We use: https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/ for our rostering of both paid and volounteer staff, here at Moors Valley Railway.
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grahame
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« Reply #302 on: February 21, 2020, 07:36:29 am »

From the Somerset County Gazette

Quote
WSR chairman says plans for Taunton to Minehead rail link "don't stack up"

 PLANS to create a community rail service between Minehead and Taunton ‘do not stack up’ according the chairman of West Somerset Railway.

Jonathan Jones-Pratt, the WSR chairman, reacted after Minehead Rail Link Group sent a letter this week to Somerset County Council calling for a face-to-face meeting about progressing its goals in the wake of the government pledging money to ‘undo the Beeching railway cuts’ of the 1980s.

In the letter, Minehead Rail Link Group say they envisage a service operated under a revised franchise agreement, ‘using two or three car diesel multiple units’.

The letter, signed by Minehead Rail Link Group secretary and district councillor Benet Allen, suggests this service could be delivered by extending some of the current Cardiff to Taunton services through to Minehead, ‘providing a roughly two-hourly service’.

[article continues]

I have temporarily locked this HERITAGE topics ... crossposted to the CAMPAIGNS board - looking for a service to Minehead for the town in general rather than just the heritage attraction element see http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=17237.msg282459#msg282459 . Done this to avoid us ending up with two conversations
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 07:47:03 am by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #303 on: May 09, 2020, 05:29:30 am »

Thread re-opened.

Update from chair's letter to shareholders, volunteers and supporters.

https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/news/detail/letter-to-shareholders-volunteers-and-supporters

Letter does not cut and paste well - and free OCR didn't do vowel well. Sorry about lack of quotes!

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« Reply #304 on: May 09, 2020, 11:50:50 am »

Thread re-opened.

Update from chair's letter to shareholders, volunteers and supporters.

https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/news/detail/letter-to-shareholders-volunteers-and-supporters

Letter does not cut and paste well - and free OCR didn't do vowel well. Sorry about lack of quotes!


The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust (https://www.sdrt.org/) have issued their own statement (in relation to a recent announcement) which reads:-


The S&DRT notes the helpful joint statement by the WSR plc, WSRA and WSSRT issued on 1 May. Whereas we might take some issue with the suggestion that, hitherto, we were not minded to enter into any discussions, we are grateful nevertheless to the WSRA and WSSRT for bringing about that discussion now.

We also note the position statement provided at the same time by the WSR plc. There are a number of matters in that statement with which we might take even greater issue or of which we might question the relevance but we do not think it helpful to do so publicly at this time.

We welcome the involvement of the Heritage Railway Association and look forward to engaging in discussions via that body.

Ian Young, 3 May 2020

The joint statement referred to is here together with the Position Statement issued by WSR PLC only (https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/news/detail/joint-position-statement-regarding-somerset-dorset-railway-trust).

Make of it what you will and other issues both recent and historical.
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grahame
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« Reply #305 on: May 27, 2020, 03:58:25 pm »

From County Gazette

Quote
A SOMERSET MP (Member of Parliament) says a 'frank and meaningful' conversation is needed over the future of West Somerset Railway.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, for Bridgwater and West Somerset, was reacting to the news the railway had given 43 staff members notice of potential redundancies.

The railway confirmed last week that letters had been sent out to its staff members as it considers its options during the Covid-19 crisis, which has left it unable to open this year.
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« Reply #306 on: May 27, 2020, 08:04:40 pm »

43 staff
I find that a very high number.I thought most of the staff were volunteers.
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TonyK
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« Reply #307 on: May 28, 2020, 07:36:45 pm »

43 staff
I find that a very high number.I thought most of the staff were volunteers.

They will be soon.
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Now, please!
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« Reply #308 on: June 20, 2020, 06:00:15 pm »

The unease on the WSR continues with over 500 signing this open letter:

https://www.change.org/p/west-somerset-railway-plc-plc-open-letter-to-the-west-somerset-railway-plc-wsra-and-wssrt
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grahame
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« Reply #309 on: June 20, 2020, 06:39:06 pm »


A friend of mine who lives in the line's catchment area and is very concerned at bus capacity between Minehead and Taunton during social distancing suggested that a 3 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) could usefully provide a service in the current times, taking 45 passengers rather that 10 as things build up a little.

What a pity that my immediate thought was "you'll never get everyone who need to to work together on that".

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« Reply #310 on: June 20, 2020, 06:41:32 pm »

It does seem very odd to have several competing organisations involved in different ways with the WSR.
Whilst there may now be improved co-operation between the differing groups and organisations, it seems preferable to have a single group or organisation.

This should not of course preclude sub-groups connected with a particular station, or locomotive, or other asset provided that everyone fully understands that any such groups are entirely under the overall control of "the railway" and not in any way competitors.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #311 on: June 24, 2020, 08:59:32 am »

PLC Chairman of WSR Jonathan Jones-Pratt was featured on BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) Points west on TUESDAY evening talking about lay offs.
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« Reply #312 on: July 03, 2020, 06:08:13 pm »

Mark Smith from WSR interviewed on ITV west country news friday 3rd July

Can watch again on channel 33 just after 19:00pm
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« Reply #313 on: July 25, 2020, 07:41:25 am »

On the positive side, it was good to look at the various West Somerset Railway webcams this morning (as one does from time to time) and see the rails are shiny again at long last. It's been so sad over the past few months watching them get more and more rusty through disuse.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #314 on: July 26, 2020, 06:14:48 pm »

53808 moves to Mid Hants for rest of time before boiler certificate expires but may return

https://preservation.watercressline.co.uk/news/entry/watercress-line-welcomes-7f-53808-to-the-railway

https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/news/detail/joint-press-release-from-the-somerset-dorset-railway-trust-ltd-and-the-west-somerset-railway-plc-about-locomotive-7f-53808
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