Plans are being developed for new regular quarterly high-level meetings to help develop and co-ordinate the contributions of the main partners in the West Somerset Railway. All the Directors of the West Somerset Railway PLC, the Trustees of the West Somerset Railway Association and the Trustees of the West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust are to meet together to develop and review strategic planning for the Railway, on a regular basis. Full details of how these meetings will operate and deliver are now being worked out and it is intended that the first meeting will take place in December. From now on there will also be an annual review meeting to ensure that the group is making the maximum impact.
As their titles indicate each of the constituent organisations have a different focus. To summarise, the job of the PLC is to run the railway so that it is safe and profitable, the Association is the main membership organisation and has a key role generating charitable funding with specific objectives, whilst the Heritage Trust has the important role of making sure that the heritage features of the railway are conserved and made available in the best possible way. In the past, effective co-ordination between these organisations has sometimes been difficult, and so this new initiative is seen as way to make sure that all three organisations (who each have an important role to play) work collaboratively and in step. In this way it is seen that the railway will most likely prosper and move forward. Each organisation will continue to have its own key role but by working positively and constructively together in this way it is seen that there is the maximum potential benefit.
Jon Jones Pratt, Chairman of the West Somerset Railway PLC said: “We see this as a major step to ensuring all three organisations work constructively together. We look forward to collaboration in the future using this new framework.”
Mike Sherwood, Chairman of the West Somerset Railway Association said: “I hope that this acorn will grow into an oak tree. I am sure with time and sufficient nurture that it can.” Mike Thompson, Chairman of the West Somerset Railway Heritage Trust said: “The Heritage Trust welcomes any initiative to improve communications across the railway and looks forward to participating in discussions to help bring the railway family closer together”.