Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Personal Statement from Ian Coleby.

Personal Statement by Ian Coleby.

Today my director colleagues have decided to remove me as chairman of the West Somerset Railway. This gives me great regret and sadness, not for myself but for the stability and reputation of the railway. I have been chairman since December 2017 and I have tried my best under very difficult circumstances to ensure our railway is successful. Sadly, those efforts have not been fully appreciated and I now join the ranks of past chairmen of the railway.

I would like to thank all those volunteers and staff on the railway who have supported me during my time as chairman. At the stations, in the offices, workshops and in the messrooms, I have always been greeted with smiles and a cup of tea. Thank you to all who work so hard and so fantastically for our railway, I appreciate your support.

Throughout my time as chairman, I have acted at all times to promote the principle of “one railway” where all the different groups on the line work closely together for its success. Teamwork really is the only way and the latest dispute, of which I am now a victim, can only harm the railway. It is incumbent on all of us to overcome our differences, put our personal feelings to the side and work together to ensure success. I support all the various organisations on the railway and I support their joint efforts to work together.

I explained at the AGM that the railway is in a very serious financial situation and some tough decisions need to be taken to get us back to stability. Our costs are far too high and we must grow the income side of the business. Above all else, taking those decisions and gaining financial security is critical. This need trumps everything else and is where we should be totally focused.

I do not intend to resign as a director and I remain on the board in support of my colleagues. I thank again all of those people, too many to mention, who have helped and supported me over the last 8 months and who continue to do so.

My AGM address can be read again here

Ian Coleby


  1. The financial situation of the WSR is a worry and a situation that is largely hidden - at least from the general populous of West Somerset. No doubt there are several economies that can be made, but new sources of income need to be addressed including the opportunities of a link-up with the National Network. The proposed extension of GWR services into Bishops Lydeard will be a great start giving the WSR extra passengers and many revenue earning opportunities at that station - buffet, newspaper sales and NR ticket sales come to mind.

    Ultimately there has to be a NR through train service all the way to Minehead to get in large number of extra visitors and to get the valuable track access revenue. The more fanatical purists may wish to resist this, but it's the only hope to guarantee the line's future. We cannot live in some Beatrix Potter style fantasy land forever and exprect the WSR succeed. David Latimer, Minehead.

  2. Rather than allow N.R./GWR access to Bishops Lydeard, and eventually Minehead, would it not be a more rewarding(financially) to get W.S.R. access to Taunton Station (West Side Bay Platform ????