3801 - management of it's return

 
  allambee Chief Train Controller

[edit]Thread split from the 3801 boiler update, because it is not just about the boiler but a bigger topic on management etc. So it is split. - MOD [/edit]





The NSW Minister for Transport has asked Mr Peter Lowry OAM, Chair of THNSW, to make the return to service of 3801 a priority.
MC3801

Wow.......a heavy hitter on the job. More like a Liberal Party donor appointee.
And just how is Mr Lowry going to make the return to 3801 a priority? He's a lawyer by profession.
I thought the NSW Liberials were supposedly more ethically advanced than NSW Labour, meaning to appoint the most capable person for the job, not just the one with the party connections.

Good luck to the people who decide to work for nothing to work on 3801. But I cannot help thinking about the people sponging off the taxpayer of NSW on 3801 project in paid positions at the top.

..............."The more things change, the more they stay the same"

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  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Wow.......a heavy hitter on the job. More like a Liberal Party donor appointee.
And just how is Mr Lowry going to make the return to 3801 a priority? He's a lawyer by profession.
I thought the NSW Liberials were supposedly more ethically advanced than NSW Labour, meaning to appoint the most capable person for the job, not just the one with the party connections.

Good luck to the people who decide to work for nothing to work on 3801. But I cannot help thinking about the people sponging off the taxpayer of NSW on 3801 project in paid positions at the top.

..............."The more things change, the more they stay the same"
allambee

With respect, how much do you actually know about Mr Lowry and of his record?
  allambee Chief Train Controller

With respect, how much do you actually know about Mr Lowry and of his record?
TheFish

He is a ministerial appointee, he wasn't voted on by the RTM supporters club.
He's a lawyer by trade, Liberal Party identity and donor, lives in the North Sydney area, property developer and has been put on the board of a number of government authorities such as the those relating to heritage buildings and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority .He got his OAM thru efforts in the restoration of the Independent Theatre in North Sydney.
I cannot see experience in managing movable heritage anywhere in his CV.
So what's he going to do to get 3801 going again? relay the ministers "instruction" to the project delivery team to fix the mess
and to tell them project is being delivered late and way over budget?
The minister could issue the instruction herself directly and save the taxpayer the cost of another layer of management.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
He is a ministerial appointee, he wasn't voted on by the RTM supporters club.
He's a lawyer by trade, Liberal Party identity and donor, lives in the North Sydney area, property developer and has been put on the board of a number of government authorities such as the those relating to heritage buildings and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority .He got his OAM thru efforts in the restoration of the Independent Theatre in North Sydney.
I cannot see experience in managing movable heritage anywhere in his CV.
So what's he going to do to get 3801 going again? relay the ministers "instruction" to the project delivery team to fix the mess
and to tell them project is being delivered late and way over budget?
The minister could issue the instruction herself directly and save the taxpayer the cost of another layer of management.
allambee

I was quite frankly amazed to read your incredulous answer, undermining someone who hasn't even been in the job for six months in a narrow minded and simplistic way without understanding the full facts. Allambee, you have answered most of your grumpy armchair criticisms without even realising it.

I would usually never enter into mentioning politics on these forums but for the sake of understanding my position may it be known that I am a current member of the Australian Labor Party and also a full supporter of the appointment of Mr Lowry.

The Transport Heritage NSW model is the most logical way in which 3801 and every other heritage asset under the former RTM’s control should be preserved, managed and presented to the public.

To examine your criticisms:

1. “The RTM Supporters Club” as you put it (I am assuming you are referring to the members of the NSW Rail Transport Museum) did not get to vote on Mr Lowry’s appointment. What we (yes I am a member) did get to vote on is the implementation of the new constitution to create Transport Heritage NSW and the signing of the funding deed with the NSW Government. This was voted on in full knowledge of what the new board structure would be and of Mr Lowry’s appointment. My vote (in support of the resolutions) was a postal one but as I understand it the votes at the meeting were almost unanimous or completely unanimous so the members clearly support these changes including Mr Lowry’s appointment.

2. The actions the current government have taken in assisting in the creation a new organisation and funding model is accurately modeled on the recommendations in an independent report carried out by eminent experts including those with experience in the highly successful British rail heritage scene.
This slurring criticism of government appointments has happened before, specifically with the appointment of the new Transport Heritage NSW General Manager. If anyone actually knows him they would know he is the best man for the job.

3. Mr Lowry has significant expertise that he can bring to his new position in business, corporate governance as well as the heritage/tourism sector. As you said, that is what he got his OAM “thru”. Whether or not he has any experience with “moveable heritage”, in light of his general heritage and other experience, is irrelevant. His position, as is the case with successful organisations such as the National Railway Museum, is not one of technical knowledge but governance. Technical knowledge is what the engineers, consultants, workshop staff and volunteers are for and he himself has made that clear. If Transport Heritage NSW is going to grow and become a more professional, presentable organisation to give better access to transport history to the public in a 21st Century way then good corporate governance is paramount. It is particularly important given that we now have a considerably larger funding deed than any government funding we have previously received. If projects like 3801 are going to be funded in the future we have to show this arrangement can work.

I bow down before you Sir Allambee of Railpage. Clearly we have all been mistaken in thinking that Mr Lowry is the right man to lead Transport Heritage NSW. We must now look to the extensive experience of corporate governance, marketing, heritage tourism, business strategy, non-profit boards and the administration of heritage and community enterprises that of course is clearly available on your CV.
  a6et Minister for Railways

In the end the question comes down to, WHO Actually or really owns 3801?  My belief or understanding is that in the end its the government, with the way that heritage has gone over the years, I for one am glad that those days have gone, it really needed someone who has business abilities in running what was in many ways a 3 or how many other ringed circus, & on that basis surely the government who owns the engine should have a say in its running & trying to maintain something of interest considering they are the ones who have put forward the money for its restoration.  Otherwise we might be revisiting another 3813.

If this new boss does have credentials in heritage preservation/restoration whether moveable or not, then I see nothing wrong with his appointment as time will determine if he is the right person for the position, then his successes or otherwise will see if he is right to continue.

Whether the new direction is best also will be found out over time as it seemed to me that direction was sorely the very thing that was missing.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Oh yes Transport Heritage NSW is a great way for Liberal cronies to have public funded semi retirement... and for zillions of my tax dollars to disappear into projects that are constantly mismanaged (Like this one).
I wish it could be done properly like in UK... or even Victoria is better than the proverbial sandwich we have.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I thank TheFish for his comprehensive sermon.

Now, I echo Allambee's question, which TheFish did not answer. What is Mr Lowry actually going to do to get 3801 moving again?

Will he fly to Germany to stand over the boiler's remedial work, and somehow make the company speed up?
Will he arrange for another property manager/developer to airfreight it to Sydney?
Will he ensure that any extra Government assistance is  made available?
Can he guarantee instant availability of any specially qualified tradesmen who may be needed?

Over to TheFish.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Boromisa

I would like the idea of that being for Liberal Party Cronies any more than you would but if you have evidence that the process by which Mr Lowry was appointed was unfair then let us see it. Show me a better candidate whose name was put forward for the job but didn't get it and I would take your point.  Whether you like his politics or not Mr Lowry is a widely respected figure with the right credentials for the job.  His liberal party association should be noted but it does not disqualify him provided he is appointed fairly.  To the best of my knowledge not even the shadow Minister Penny Sharp, zealous as she is in her criticism of the Transport Minister, has queried the appointment.  

If you are that concerned about where your tax dollars are going how about you become involved in Transport Heritage NSW if your are not already.  Then you can stand up and keep the board and management to account to your hearts content.  In five years time when the funding deed comes to be renewed then be a member of Transport Heritage NSW at that time and vote against it.  If you don't like the way the government appoints people then don't vote for them.  If you don't like the fact that they have instituted a very large funding deed for Transport Heritage NSW, the best opportunity we have had in fifty years to grow as an organisation, then don't vote for them.  

I agree, it should be done properly like it is in the UK.  That is the finding of the review and the point of Transport Heritage NSW as I stated earlier.  

Valvegear

I would have thought the answers to most of those questions were self evident but if your want me to address it more specifically:

1.  Why should he fly to Germany if he doesn't have the technical knowledge for the project? What I would assume is that he would ensure the appropriate technical experts are flown over there.  I know for a fact this is already being done because I have a friend who is on the restoration team. The supervision of the work on the boiler was lacking before for various reasons which I wont go into but is apparently much better now.  

I would have thought it was clear from the fact that he has an extensive legal background that he would be very suitable to undertake the negotiations of the remedial work and to make sure they are done as quickly as possible.  I would also point out however that thus far this is has not really been his responsibility as it is the government Beaurocrats and Lawyers in the Transport Department who have being doing that thus far.  I guess that he will now be jointly involved in this.

2.  Why should it be air freighted over here?  You have missed me on that one.  If you are implying that it should be finished here then you might be right.  They are taking an awful long time but that would also mean paying more money to do it.  

3.  His very appointment, as I have already said, has ensured that the funding deed is available. This is the extra government assistance we have wanted for so long.

4.  Of course he can't guarantee that, what a ridiculous thing to suggest.  He is however experienced in working with such people and going through the processes necessary to recruit the best talent.  

If either of you continue to have questions I suggest you become members if you are not already and then write to him voicing your concerns and questions.  Armchair criticism can only go so far.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
TheFish - you consistently go on about what Mr Lowry can do, why we shouldn't question, how silly my suggestions are, how we should become members and not armchair critics, and yet you continue to evade the basic question. I repeat:-

What is Mr Lowry actually going to do to get 3801 moving again?

The answers are anything but self evident. Obviously you don't know how he's going to achieve this objective, because all you can do is post long winded rhetoric which makes one wonder whether you are Mr Lowry's publicity agent. If you don't know what he's going to do; just say so.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
TheFish - you consistently go on about what Mr Lowry can do, why we shouldn't question, how silly my suggestions are, how we should become members and not armchair critics, and yet you continue to evade the basic question. I repeat:-

What is Mr Lowry actually going to do to get 3801 moving again?

The answers are anything but self evident. Obviously you don't know how he's going to achieve this objective, because all you can do is post long winded rhetoric which makes one wonder whether you are Mr Lowry's publicity agent. If you don't know what he's going to do; just say so.
Valvegear

What he said...

I want to see 3801 (and whatever other heritage locos) back on the rails, not listen to waffle...
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Boromisa

I would like the idea of that being for Liberal Party Cronies any more than you would but if you have evidence that the process by which Mr Lowry was appointed was unfair then let us see it. Show me a better candidate whose name was put forward for the job but didn't get it and I would take your point. Whether you like his politics or not Mr Lowry is a widely respected figure with the right credentials for the job. His liberal party association should be noted but it does not disqualify him provided he is appointed fairly. To the best of my knowledge not even the shadow Minister Penny Sharp, zealous as she is in her criticism of the Transport Minister, has queried the appointment.
TheFish

Surprisingly a lot of people with good credentials these days are connected to the Liberal party. You may recall a case of advisor in Transport for NSW who was charging you and me (the taxpayers) a large sum of money for consultancy services whilst he was in US running election campaign of some sort. I think this rings bells of concern for me.

Mr Lowry may turn out the best candidate for the job (it remains to be seen) but I doubt that someone who has a history of property development will do much for rail heritage. If anything those two are directly conflicted.

If you are that concerned about where your tax dollars are going how about you become involved in Transport Heritage NSW if your are not already. Then you can stand up and keep the board and management to account to your hearts content. In five years time when the funding deed comes to be renewed then be a member of Transport Heritage NSW at that time and vote against it. If you don't like the way the government appoints people then don't vote for them. If you don't like the fact that they have instituted a very large funding deed for Transport Heritage NSW, the best opportunity we have had in fifty years to grow as an organisation, then don't vote for them


Transport Heritage NSW or formerly RTM is an organisation like any other. It involves politics and I am sure people who proposed this would have counted the numbers before they even started doing anything. I am a member but I don't intend to pursue politics.

What I would like to see is how much is this exercise going to cost us. They have quite a big board and a paid CEO. If they apply commercial rates of pay I don't think much will be left for any heritage revamp they are intending to pursue.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Valvegear

The point I am trying to make is that Mr Lowry has the relevant expertise to handle the situation when people who had posted previously are trying to say that he doesn't.
Of course I don't know most of the specific details of what he is going to do (remember all of this seems to be covered by confidentiality agreements anyway, hence why none of us know a lot) but I am trying to apply the relevant expertise he has to surmise what courses of action he might take.  For example he has extensive legal experience therefore if the worst comes to the worst and legal action is required I would have thought he was highly qualified to take the right course of action.

However to quote what I previously said:  "What I would assume is that he would ensure the appropriate technical experts are flown over there.  I know for a fact this is already being done because I have a friend who is on the restoration team."


That is one way in which, I believe, I have answered your question.  My point about his legal expertise is I think also a valid way in which I answered the question of what he will do.  

I'm fully supportive of your asking questions of what is going on but I am defending Mr Lowry for three reasons:
1. He has been in the job only a short time so lets give him and Transport Heritage NSW a chance before getting negative.

2. His appointment is being criticized from a purely ideological point of view here.  This is what I am trying to defend against more than the question of what he will do with 3801. The criticism of his appointment is in my opinion unfair and is being done without a full understanding of the facts and why corporate governance and the appointment of Mr Lowry is important.

3. These lines of criticism are unfortunately similar to other lines of criticism of the government and Transport Heritage NSW from certain aggrieved parties which have little basis in fact. I do not want to see Transport Heritage NSW undermined before it has been allowed to prove itself.

Boromisa
You clearly are not reading my responses. He not only has experience in property development but he also has extensive experience in heritage, tourism and running not for profit organisations.

I am glad to see you are a member and I respect your right to not get into the political side of things if you do not wish to. I am asking however that you be informed before your criticise. Perhaps you have not read all the information that was made available to members about how Transport Heritage NSW will be funded.

I took the time to ask the then Chairman now Deputy David Ireland last year about this myself before making up my mind on how to vote. There are guaranteed channels of funding over the five years of the agreement. That means that certain amounts of the funds are specifically allocated for each activity, for example loco restorations/maintenance. We are talking of an overall funding package in the millions here and the fees of those people that are being paid are on top of the agreed funding deed for project.

If Transport Heritage NSW is going to fulfill the vision of an expanded heritage body that has standards of excellence similar to the National Railway Museum in Britain for example then having a dedicated professional management is key. It is simply a fact of running a large scale business in the modern world.

I would also point out that whether we like it or not the only way the government is going to agree to the sort of large scale funding deed they have done is if proper corporate governance is put in place.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
TheFish,

Waffle 100%.
Information: Zilch.

You don't even seem to know the meaning of the word "criticism" in your replies to me.
I asked one, very simple, question.
That is not criticism; it is a request for information.
"I don't know what he'll do" is an answer in six words. . . we didn't need an answer as long as of the Book of Revelation.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
TheFish,

Waffle 100%.
Information: Zilch.

You don't even seem to know the meaning of the word "criticism" in your replies to me.
I asked one, very simple, question.
That is not criticism; it is a request for information.
"I don't know what he'll do" is an answer in six words. . . we didn't need an answer as long as of the Book of Revelation.
Valvegear

He will manage the appointment of engineering experts and oversee their actions in Germany giving them what direction he has to.   As I have said this is already happening.

He will undertake the negotiations (should there need to be any) with DB.  Remember we don't know what stage this is at and this probably is complete unless further issues come to light.

He will pursue what legal action could be required if DB fail to meet what is required of them in the contract or he will attempt to get what money he can, back. This would depend on the type of contract that is in place.

To answer anything more than that I would have to know the details of the contract and the legislation which covers it.  He would have knowledge and experience of that but I don't so how can I be more specific?

Please remember I am not only answering your question, which is a good and fair one, but I am also answering it in the context of all the criticisms from other posters on here.  

The reason I am doing this is because they, not necessarily you (however how can I know if you agree with their criticisms or not), ARE making criticisms that ARE unfair.  They are unfair because they have been made without a full understanding the nature of the funding deed and the validity of the appointment of Mr Lowry.

This forum is basically one of the first things that comes up in google if you search for recent 3801 information so many people will read it.  I do not want misinformation to be spread because it damages the name of Transport Heritage NSW.  Can you understand this?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Omigawd - getting an answer is like pulling teeth.  Fish; you do an awful lot of writing for someone who's worried about misinformation.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Well clearly we disagree as to what an answer to you question is. As I have said my answer can only be a general one so you'd have to ask someone with the appropriate legal background.
But now it is time for me to reask my question which you didn't answer. The reason I have been writing so much is not for your question.  It is because if I am going  to cover the other responses that I am argueing against I have to support myself with facts.  This is a public forum so I want our discussion to be based on fact.  Once again do you understand that?
  sthyer Deputy Commissioner

The CEO of the NRM in the UK has a background in the army, infantry to be precise. Does that imply that all he's good for is lining up the engines in neat rows and ensuring that everyone's boots are polished to a mirror finish?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
This is a public forum so I want our discussion to be based on fact.  Once again do you understand that?
TheFish

I would have thought it was blindingly obvious that I do. I invited you, more than once, to reply by saying you don't know the answer to my question. That is a perfectly satisfactory answer.

The CEO of the NRM in the UK has a background in the army, infantry to be precise. Does that imply that all he's good for is lining up the engines in neat rows and ensuring that everyone's boots are polished to a mirror finish?
sthyer

Obviously not. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have not criticised Mr Lowry's appointment. I have never heard of him before he popped up here. He may do a brilliant job; I hope he does. I was interested to know how he'll go about it, but nobody here knows. OK; that's that.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
I would have thought it was blindingly obvious that I do. I invited you, more than once, to reply by saying you don't know the answer to my question. That is a perfectly satisfactory answer.
Valvegear

It wasn't obvious as you were being critical of the length of my responses

I have given as good an answer as the information that is in the public domain allows regarding the nature of what is currently going on and what Mr Lowry will be overseeing to find a solution.  

You don't find that an acceptable answer, which is fine (I want to know more just as you do), but in that case you need to be more specific in the way in which you want your question answered.

What sorts of details would make up a satisfactory answer for you?

For example are you wanting to hear from someone with legal knowledge regarding the contract, someone with engineering knowledge or someone on the inside of the process?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Try studying the English language. My question was simple, straightforward and clear.

Here it is again;  " What is Mr Lowry actually going to do to get 3801 moving again?"


"
For example are you wanting to hear from someone with legal knowledge regarding the contract, someone with engineering knowledge or someone on the inside of the process?
TheFish

I asked you what he is going to do. I wanted to hear from you, since you were singing the man's praises.  Yet again; if you don't know, fer Chrissakes just say so instead of writing an essay every time. Fair dinkum, you could complicate a sunrise without trying.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
To be fair to TheFish, I thought this bit answered what he/she envisioned Mr Lowry doing.

He will manage the appointment of engineering experts and oversee their actions in Germany giving them what direction he has to. As I have said this is already happening.

He will undertake the negotiations (should there need to be any) with DB. Remember we don't know what stage this is at and this probably is complete unless further issues come to light.

He will pursue what legal action could be required if DB fail to meet what is required of them in the contract or he will attempt to get what money he can, back. This would depend on the type of contract that is in place.
TheFish


It is better than "I don't know", he/she has some idea. It satisfied me.
  TheFish Chief Train Controller

Location: Pyongyang
Thanks Graham4405, I'm glad its not just me who thinks I've done the best I can to answer the question. The first of these things he definitely is "doing", the other two are the that are quoted above are the avenues of progress that he is likely to be "doing" something about depending on the stage of the process they are currently at.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I'm afraid I got tired of wading through all the verbiage trying to find a simple answer to a simple question.  It took days ! You may care to remember that TheFish started by giving Allambee an almighty serve, and went on from there. Words by the dray load, answers very slow or non existent.
K.I.S.S . . . Keep It Simple, Son.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I'm afraid I got tired of wading through all the verbiage trying to find a simple answer to a simple question. It took days ! You may care to remember that TheFish started by giving Allambee an almighty serve, and went on from there. Words by the dray load, answers very slow or non existent.
K.I.S.S . . . Keep It Simple, Son.
Valvegear

Oh yeah, it definitely took some sifting. However I rarely read long posts in entirety, I seem to have developed the ability to read the bits that interest me and ignore the fluff... Wink
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

I am glad to see you are a member and I respect your right to not get into the political side of things if you do not wish to. I am asking however that you be informed before your criticise. Perhaps you have not read all the information that was made available to members about how Transport Heritage NSW will be funded.

I took the time to ask the then Chairman now Deputy David Ireland last year about this myself before making up my mind on how to vote. There are guaranteed channels of funding over the five years of the agreement. That means that certain amounts of the funds are specifically allocated for each activity, for example loco restorations/maintenance. We are talking of an overall funding package in the millions here and the fees of those people that are being paid are on top of the agreed funding deed for project.

If Transport Heritage NSW is going to fulfill the vision of an expanded heritage body that has standards of excellence similar to the National Railway Museum in Britain for example then having a dedicated professional management is key. It is simply a fact of running a large scale business in the modern world.

I would also point out that whether we like it or not the only way the government is going to agree to the sort of large scale funding deed they have done is if proper corporate governance is put in place.
TheFish

I did read the information packages from the RTM. I understand how the deed of funding will work but regardless of that there is only certain pie of money that is allocated for transport and within that to rail heritage... so more suits essentially means less money for real projects. Govt won't give us an open chequebook. As the matter of fact I find it disturbing that this govt has essentially focused on creating new CEOs and boards throughout public sector but has refused to pay workers CPI rate of pay.  

If the government was serious about rail heritage they would develop resources to help heritage operators to deal with safety/regulatory/compliance/management. Perhaps appoint independent Ombudsman or Commissioner to oversee and deal with issues of compliance, grants and custody management.

I also think that the current model discourages diversity and puts THNSW in charge of all govt heritage assets. That will essentially lead to some inefficiencies, not to mention issue of perceived conflict of interest.

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