GO-OP! Cooperative http://go-op.coop GO-OP! Cooperative News Feed en-us Symphony (build 375) GO-OP AGM papers 2021 http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-agm-papers-2021/ Fri, 09 Jul 2021 07:33 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-agm-papers-2021/ Members of GO-OP will have received a formal invite to the AGM by post or email (if you haven't, do please contact info@go-op.coop). These are the papers that the AGM will consider. While we are meeting in a hybrid format (both face to face and online participation are supported) in practice we are aware that Covid infection rates are now rising very fast. In light of this we would encourage online attendance. Agenda and motions Draft Financial Statements and Annual Report 2020 AGM Minutes <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Rail users co-operative adopts a viable timetable for Somerset and Wiltshire rail link http://go-op.coop/info/rail-users-co-operative-adopts-a-viable-timetable/ Fri, 23 Apr 2021 07:05 -0700 http://go-op.coop/rail-users-co-operative-adopts-a-viable-timetable/ PRESS RELEASE Friday 23rd April 2021 Rail users co-operative adopts a viable timetable for Somerset and Wiltshire rail link Rail travel could get a boost in Somerset and Wiltshire as a new train operator adopts a significant addition to the rail timetables from summer 2022. The proposal from GO-OP, which unusually for the rail industry is a co-operative, includes connecting mainline rail with Bishops Lydeard on the independent West Somerset Railway line. By starting a not-for-profit business owned by those who travel on its trains and work for it, GO-OP’s ambition is to establish a new ‘rail corridor’ between Taunton and Swindon. Several stations in Somerset and Wiltshire that have limited levels of service such as Castle Cary, Frome, and Melksham will see significant increases in the number of departures; and connecting services will open up rail journeys that are currently impractical such as Taunton to Yeovil and Frome to Swindon. Discussions between GO-OP and the West Somerset Railway could lead to a scheduled daily service linking the national rail network, via Taunton, to the heritage railway at Bishops Lydeard for the first time in 50 years. Passengers will be able to change there for leisure services to Minehead, and may also see an increase in bus services so that more people in West Somerset and North Devon can access the railway. “The WSR has always encouraged train operators to run trains to connect with the very popular heritage steam trains that run from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead”, said a spokesperson for West Somerset Railway. “We are at an early stage and will continue discussions as GO-OP resolves the many issues involved in running on the national network." The announcement follows the conclusion of capacity tests by Network Rail which have established that there is capacity on the network to introduce GO-OP’s services. The next step will be a performance analysis to ensure that as the trains approach Swindon there will be no risk to the punctuality of other operators. "GO-OP has been engaged with the Aspirant Open Access team at Network Rail for some years now, most recently asking their train planners to assess whether capacity existed in the timetable for GO-OP's additional services. Further work, including performance analysis and evidence of rolling stock suitability, will be needed before Network Rail can decide whether the planned track access application can secure their support", said a statement from Network Rail. “We have been working towards this point for many years since we first began meeting as a group of frustrated rail travellers”, said GO-OP’s Operations Director Alex Lawrie, “and for a while it looked like the pandemic might be one challenge too many. We are very grateful to the volunteers and staff of the West Somerset Railway, and to the many rail industry experts, who have enabled us to bring forward proposals that actually exceed our original ambitions in many ways.” Further Information Planned Timetable Summary Route Map Press Pack <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ DSC_0008.JPG "> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Co-operative AGM 2020 - online using ZOOM http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-co-operative-agm-2020-online-using-zoom/ Wed, 27 May 2020 08:53 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-co-operative-agm-2020-online-using-zoom/ GO-OP has, like many other societies, adapted to the lockdown by staging an online AGM - any member can join using the contact details in the agenda which has been sent directly to them (if you haven't received yours, you should contact info@go-op.coop at once). All the necessary papers for the event are supplied here for your convenience - the board report, accounts and social impact report are all gathered together in the Annual Report. An important document is our appeal for new Directors. After many years of dedicated service, Kate has decided it is time to focus on other things - we will greatly miss her wisdom and experience. A diverse board gives us much better scrutiny of big decisions and mutual support through a demanding process of gaining track access. For all that we value skills and qualifications, it is a role open to anyone with fair judgement, a passion for our mission and a will to work as part of a team. Do please consider whether that might be you. Annual Report for 2019 Brief for potential new Directors Proposed update to the GO-OP rules Minutes of the 2019 AGM <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Co-operative AGM 6th June 2019 http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-co-operative-agm-6th-june-2019/ Tue, 21 May 2019 00:00 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-co-operative-agm-6th-june-2019/ ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2pm Thursday 6th June 2019 The Laverton, Bratton Road, Westbury BA13 3EN AGENDA 1.30 Light refreshments 2pm Welcome from the Chair Speaker: Brian Barnsley, Senior Operations Manager at ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships). ACoRP is dedicated to supporting community-based groups and partnerships that connect their community with their railway and deliver social benefit. Brian will be speaking about building community engagement along our Route #1. Q&A 3pm AGM 1. Apologies 2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 5th July 2018 3. Board Report 4. Finance Report & Financial Statements 5. Board motions 6. Board elections 4pm Ends AGM PAPERS Agenda Annual Report Election Profiles Minutes of 2018 AGM Accounts for 2018 Board Motions Joining instructions Standing for election to the GO-OP Co-operative Board Proposed rules of GO-OP Co-operative Limited <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Launch event at the Cheese and Grain, Frome, 5pm to 6.30pm on 4th April 2019 http://go-op.coop/info/launch-event-at-the-cheese-and-grain-frome-5pm-to/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 09:27 -0700 http://go-op.coop/launch-event-at-the-cheese-and-grain-frome-5pm-to/ Co-operative entrepreneurship in transport: be part of GO-OP's sustainable transport revolution Anyone interested in seeing improved local train services, provided by a co-operative of passengers, employees and investor members, is warmly invited to come along and hear about our plans. Go-op Co-operative wants to engage with potential users of our services early. We’d also like to hear from people who’d like to try out with the team now, with view to maybe becoming employee members with us later. Our overall aim is to help people to leave the car at home – to provide rail links between under-served rural towns and mainline services. A particular goal is to give some of the market towns of Somerset and Wiltshire a regular, functional service where at present the low frequency makes it hard to give up the car. However this is just the start – we need to start planning bus services to bring people to the stations, and consider how we can further develop and enhance the service. Anyone in the area we serve can be part of the conversation. Timetable highlights include: a big jump in service levels at Frome, getting close to hourly five trips each way between Castle Cary and Swindon, including some in peak hours and others that extend the day with early and late departures a total of 25 departures a day from Melksham, close to an hourly service four of our trains from Castle Cary continue to Taunton, and two go to Yeovil. Combined with the existing Heart of Wessex services this should provide a more or less two hourly service between Westbury and Yeovil Taunton trips combine with GWR's planned service improvements to provide close to hourly departures in the peaks. Again, we are extending the travelling day with early and late trains. We have three main roles in which our members can contribute to the work of GO-OP: as volunteers, as workers or prospective employees, and as directors. Volunteeers GO-OP has an urgent need for volunteer assistance to bring its plans to fruition. We need people in a variety of roles, but especially office based work in Taunton, ideal for people with good computer skills. We would value having contacts and community organisers in all the town and cities on our route. However, we have limited capacity for managing people - so we really need a small number of dedicated people who can take the initiative and be largely self reliant. For this reason we have carefully defined volunteer roles and we are asking for applicants. For more information, download our volunteer pack. Workers and prospective workers We do not yet have any jobs to offer – yet! But we are now close to the point that we will - and we are interested in hearing from people about a number of posts. These include: trainee train drivers fundraisers marketing managers people keen to work with our members on activity local to particular stations. In the absence of normal salaries, we have alternative ways to compensate people for their time - sweat equity, and in some cases commission - and of course working for us now ensures a place on the short list when paid work is available. For more information, download our worker pack. Directors We would like to enlarge our board of directors so that it has a wider range of skills, experiences and backgrounds, and better reflects the communities that we serve. For entirely understandable reasons, some long serving board members have been obliged to stand down and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication. We are not just looking for experts and professionals to replace them (though they do have much to offer!) but bright people with some wisdom and perceptiveness, who are willing to digest a lot of information and form a balanced opinion on what is best for the co-operative. For more information, download the 'Standing for the board' pack. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP announces new route proposal http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-announces-new-route-proposal/ Thu, 07 Mar 2019 03:47 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-announces-new-route-proposal/ GO-OP has been working on its plans for several years, with a group of frustrated rail travellers from the south west first meeting as a co-operative in 2009, ten years ago. Alex Lawrie, the Operations Director and a founder member, said, “The technical difficulties are hard to overstate. The UK railways are – for good reason – carefully regulated and we must prove in great detail that our ideas stack up.” The proposal is for two trains made up of newly refurbished class 769 units to work a complex series of trips between Oxfordshire and Somerset. Even though there are only two, a carefully designed timetable will complement the existing services (many provided by GWR) and provide useful connections so as to introduce a large number of useful journeys than you might imagine. “A particular goal was to give some of the market towns of Somerset and Wiltshire a regular, functional service where at present the low frequency makes it hard to give up the car”, said Alex Lawrie. “In addition there are two long distance services a day that go all the way to Nuneaton, where connections to the north of England are available.” The timetable (which will be put forward in terms of the overall number of services, rather than committing to specific times at this stage) provides: • four direct trips each way between Swindon and Oxford, including some in peak hours and two extending through to Nuneaton via Leamington and Coventry. • five trips each way between Castle Cary and Swindon, including some in peak hours and others that extend the day with early and late departures. That will make a total of 25 departures a day from Melksham, close to an hourly service. Frome too would see a big jump in service levels, close to hourly. • from Castle Cary, four of our trains continue to Taunton, and two go to Yeovil. Combined with the existing Heart of Wessex services this should provide a more or less two hourly service between Westbury and Yeovil; and the Taunton trips combine with GWR's planned service improvements to provide close to hourly departures in the peaks. Again, we are extending the travelling day with early and late trains. • the trips to Coventry from Oxford should connect at Banbury to good trains for Solihull and Birmingham. • the Yeovil services, coupled with some carefully timed interchanges at Castle Cary, should create a viable Taunton - Yeovil option with eight trips a day each way (including some direct services). At present, this journey is rarely considered possible by train. From Taunton, there are connections all over the south west. • Swindon will be connected to Taunton and Yeovil, with up to eight viable journeys a day (three being direct, others requiring one or two changes). “As we are a co-operative, we want to engage with the potential users of the service early – and we’d also like to hear from people who’d like to try out with the team now, with view to maybe becoming employee members with us later”, said Alex Lawrie. “We are holding our first public meeting in Taunton on March 21st, and following up with an event in Frome on April 4th. We’d encourage anyone who’d like to find out more to come to these events, or visit www.go-op.coop for more information. This is just the start – we need to start planning bus services to bring people to the stations, and consider how we can further develop and enhance the service. Anyone in the area we serve can be part of the conversation.” <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ Route-map-Taunton-and-Yeovil-Nuneaton-whr.png "> <br /> <br /> GO-OP AGM 2018 PAPERS http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-agm-2018-papers/ Tue, 19 Jun 2018 02:39 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-agm-2018-papers/ Here you will find papers for our AGM at Taunton on 5th July 2018 Agenda Minutes of AGM 2017 Election Profiles Board Motions 2017 Annual Report <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP News update 27th July 2017 http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-news-update-27th-july-2017/ Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:19 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-news-update-27th-july-2017/ We are very happy to report that finally – on 17th July – we submitted our Track Access Application to the office of Rail and Road.We will post regular updates on progress as and when we hear from the Regulator. The GO-OP AGM was held on 6th July in Taunton Somerset. Despite a somewhat low attendance - perhaps Taunton is just too far south &/or west for most of our members? - we were able to approve the election of two new Directors: Jo Burroughs, representing Midcounties Co-operative and Gareth Webster, representing The Co-operative Group. We were also able to approve Board motions to apply the exemption from the obligation to appoint a qualified auditor; to allow the social audit panel to be chaired by a member of the co-operative and to accrue interest on members share capital for the year at the rate of 3.5%. We were delighted to welcome Martyn McCarthy, a potential new Board member, representing Central England Co-operative. Members present enjoyed a presentation from Brian Titley of Co-operative Assistance Network in which he spoke about the work of Co-operatives South West (C-SW). C-SW exists to promote the common interests of co-operative and mutual organisations of all kinds and to promote the development of co-operative and mutual forms of business throughout the South West Region of the UK. There are over 600 co-operatives and mutuals in the south west, with a combined turnover of some £3.35 billion. C-SW aims: to be representative of the co-operative & mutual sector in the South West to provide networking and inter-trading opportunities for co-operatives in the South West to encourage co-operative development in the South West to build partnership structures and arrangements with organisations with similar objectives and to create a strong and positive image of the organisation itself and the benefits of membership Activities carried out during 2016/17 included: 'cleaning' the database of co-ops and mutuals in the south west relaunching the website and on-line directory, holding a successful co-ops event in Exeter on International Women's Day and increasing paying membership year on year – there are currently 41 members of Co-operatives South West, of which Go-op is one If you’d like to know more about the work of C-SW, or indeed join, you can contact them via: www.cooperatives-sw.coop info@cooperatives-sw.coop @coopssouthwest facebook.com/coopsw <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> AGM 2017 http://go-op.coop/info/agm-2017/ Sat, 10 Jun 2017 05:08 -0700 http://go-op.coop/agm-2017/ The AGM for 2017 will take place on Thursday 6th July at the Albermarle Centre in Taunton, and we hope to see as many of our members there as possible. The AGM is the chance to question the board, elect and re-elect board members (we'd very much like to hear from anyone who is interested, and we are particularly keen to hear from people with an interest in financial management) and check the direction of the co-operative. In addition, we are very pleased to have as our guest speaker Brian Titley from Co-operative Assistance Network. Brian is one of the most experienced Co-operative Development Workers in the South West, if not the country, and has wide ranging experiences of co-operative enterprises large and small. We have had the benefit of his advice in the past, and we look forward to hearing more insights on the challenges and opportunities facing co-operatives today. The AGM papers Agenda Minutes of 2016 AGM Member Profiles standing for election Board motions Directions to the Albermarle Centre Annual report and accounts for 2016 <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Remembering Tim Pearce http://go-op.coop/info/remembering-tim-pearce/ Sat, 10 Jun 2017 04:52 -0700 http://go-op.coop/remembering-tim-pearce/ We were very sad indeed to hear of the death of GO-OP founder member Tim Pearce. Tim died peacefully in St Austell, Cornwall after a long and courageous fight against cancer. He is survived by his wife Maggie and his daughter Eleanor. Our thoughts go out to them at this sad time. Mervyn Wilson of the Co-operative College, a lifelong friend of Tim's has written a detailed and moving obituary. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Going Forward Spring 2017 http://go-op.coop/info/going-forward-spring-2017/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 05:03 -0700 http://go-op.coop/going-forward-spring-2017/ This issue features Progress report from Alex Lawrie Share Capital - announcement Meet the director New editor <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> PAPERS for GO-OP Co-operative AGM 23rd June 2016 UWE, Frenchay Campus, Bristol http://go-op.coop/info/papers-for-go-op-co-operative-agm-23rd-june-2016-u/ Wed, 25 May 2016 07:00 -0700 http://go-op.coop/papers-for-go-op-co-operative-agm-23rd-june-2016-u/ Dear Members, Dear GO-OP Member, I am very pleased to invite you to the GO-OP Co-operative AGM to be held on 23rd June at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol. The full address: Room 4Q07 (Room 07, Q Block, 4th Floor), Frenchay Campus, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, BRISTOL BS16 1QY The postcode is BS16 1QY. Please see directions for details of access via Bristol Parkway station and by car. The AGM is an ideal opportunity to learn more about our work and have your say in the future of GO-OP. Our speaker will be Dr. Juliet Jain, who will talk about ‘Rail Passengers’ Time Use in the Digital Age’. Attendance is not strictly limited to members, other co-operators and potential co-operators are also welcome. So if you have friends or colleagues who are interested in knowing more about GO-OP, or joining as members, do encourage them to come along, there will be an opportunity to sign up on the day. We are keen to do our bit for the environment, so rather than print and post AGM papers, we have made them available for download below. We look forward to seeing you on 23rd June at UWE in Bristol. Agenda Minutes of AGM 2015 Annual Report Board Motions Board Election Profiles Frenchay Map GO-OP AGM UWE Frenchay Campus Directions <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Going Forward Spring 2016 http://go-op.coop/info/going-forward-spring-2016/ Mon, 23 May 2016 10:03 -0700 http://go-op.coop/going-forward-spring-2016/ Going Forward Spring 2016 In this issue we: report on progress with our Track Access Application meet Director Barbara Rainford pay a visit to another town along our Route #1 - Melksham (and introduce our colleagues from the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership) And a date for your diaries: The GO-OP Co-operative AGM will be held at the University of the West of England, Bristol at 2pm on Thursday 23rd June 2016. We hope you will be able to join us, there will be home made cake! <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Article: The Peoples Railway - a co-operative opportunity? http://go-op.coop/info/article-the-peoples-railway-a-co-operative-oppo/ Mon, 29 Feb 2016 06:49 -0700 http://go-op.coop/article-the-peoples-railway-a-co-operative-oppo/ Early one cold winter morning back in 2008, Alex Lawrie www.somerset.coop, shivering on the Yeovil railway platform, had an idea: “surely a co-op could do this better?” – and the seed of an idea that was to grow into GO-OP Co-operative www.go-op.coop was born. 8 years later and with the support of 200-odd generous and patient investors, we are close to submitting our application for track access to the ORR (was the Office of the Rail Regulator, now, ominously, the Office of Rail and Road). I won’t bore you with the details of our mind-numbingly boring stumble through endless bureaucracy, suffice it to say that as GO-OP Co-operative Secretary, I have a great interest in Jeremy Corbyn’s stated intention to take the railways into public ownership, and not along the failed centralised state ownership model, but based on a co-operative or mutual model. There are huge problems with the current state of the railways in the UK. High fares (above all at peak times), fragmented services, overcrowding, complex ticketing arrangements, higher government subsidies than when British Rail was de-nationalised, poor interchange between buses and trains, lack of bike parking – I could go on. But when Jeremy Corbyn refers to a co-operative model of public ownership for the railways, what does that mean? Firstly, there would need to be an alternative to the current franchising system. Franchises are a high stakes gamble for a co-operative. No co-op could justify to its members the multi-million-pound gamble that is tendering for a franchise. Secondly, co-operatives are businesses, they are entrepreneurial, and that means they need to be able to alter their geographical remit at will, as business opportunities permit. Thirdly, all co-operatives must comply with International Co-operative Principles. That means they are independent and cannot be owned by or linked to the state. Co-operatives are run for the benefit of their members and are owned and controlled by those members, so who would the members be? The obvious stakeholders in a railway are the passengers and the staff, but there would clearly be a role for Union representatives and investors could be another group of stakeholders. (In a co-operative model, investors and savers do not expect high financial returns on their investment, rather they are looking to support the venture whilst receiving a modest financial and social return). At the January Ways Forward4 conference in Manchester, as I listened to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ending his speech with the words: “… as our policy development process rolls out over the next few years we will ask ourselves time and time again how the practical, everyday-socialist principles of the co-operative movement can be applied. In an uncertain world where a laissez faire market approach continues to fail, co-operation is an idea whose time has come again” I couldn’t help but think “Pinch me, I’m dreaming …”. It seems there’s a real appetite in the Labour Party to look at how co-operative principles can be applied in government policy making. So how could it be done? It’s helpful to identify three separate elements of the UK railway system: the infrastructure (track, stations, buildings), the operations and the rolling stock (carriages & engines). The infrastructure is owned by Network Rail, which could be described as already in public ownership as it has one shareholder, the Government. But for co-operators, ownership is not enough, you must have control as well, and Network Rail is famously unaccountable, the Board is unelected and free to set itself what the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) has described as ‘wildly excessive Boardroom bonuses’ with near impunity. I have to say that in our negotiations with them, GO-OP found them to be opaque and convoluted. The operations are run in two ways: • Franchises - awarded on the basis of which company requests the lowest level of subsidy from the government and • Open Access operators, which GO-OP hopes to become, (if successful, we would be the first co-operative open access operator in the UK). The TSSA describes franchises as a “low cost option on upside profits with downside risks passed to the state. The tax payer loses in a ‘heads they win and tails we lose’ situation so that Virgin and Stagecoach have, between 1997 and 2012 taken £518.8 million in net profit (of which £499 million was paid to shareholders) out of the West Coast mainline”. Franchises are mostly on 7-year contracts, with several due to be signed off in the next couple of years, so they won't run out until mid-term of the next government. But they could be brought back 'in-house', put together and run by a government-owned organisation. The success of the government-owned Directly Operated Railways in running the East Coast Main Line when National Express handed back the franchise in 2009 points to the viability of that option. Nonetheless, as co-operators know, such an option doesn’t automatically produce an organisation accountable and responsive to users, staff and taxpayers alike, so exploring how a co-operative model could work would be a useful exercise.The existence of co-operatives as Open Access operators could provide a stepping stone to co-operatives fulfilling that role. Open Access operators receive no subsidies and are not permitted to compete directly and openly with Franchise operators – but must instead show that they are bringing new passengers on to the system and growing the market. Open Access operators currently fulfil a niche role of providing services in markets neglected by the main franchises. Co-operative Open Access operators could build valuable experience in this space to grow into major rail companies. The rolling stock is in the hands of three Roscos (rolling stock companies) that could better be described as tax efficient investment vehicles acting as middlemen between manufacturers and train operating companies – or a licence to print money. Yet when Labour Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander looked into changing the system, he found that nothing could be done about rolling stock in private ownership; the complex contractual arrangements would prove too costly and difficult to unravel. Be that as it may, the government could take a greater role in commissioning new rolling stock to be built and it has begun to do that in respect of new trains for services in Greater London and the West Country. Secondary co-operatives established in this space to own and maintain rolling stock for co-operative operators would need to overcome the perennial challenges of raising significant investment capital faced by the co-operative sector as a whole. So what can be done? Demand for rail travel is now at an all-time high. There have been some successful collaborations between Local Authorities and the rail industry, pointing the way towards greater local control as Local Authorities develop their understanding of rail industry processes and contribute local experience and expertise to influence franchising outcomes. Rail North for example brings together Local Transport Authorities across the North of England into one cohesive and proactive body, representing regional and local economic, transport and strategic objectives for the rail industry. Rail North strategy sets out how rail can support the growth of the North of England’s economy over the next twenty years by improving connectivity for passengers and freight, while at the same time providing a better customer experience and delivering a more efficient railway. But it is still not clear whether this will involve more public ownership of the railways or merely more opportunities for private sector monopolies. The impact of vibrant Community Rail Partnerships in growing traffic on many under-served lines across the country point to the commercial benefits of greater User, Local Authority and Community involvement, although this doesn’t necessarily lead to a change in control of rail services. Although there are many complexities and difficulties to be overcome, taking the railways back into public ownership could remain as an overall aim, but won’t happen overnight. Fares reductions are unlikely as this would need subsidy from a government purse already empty from years of Tory austerity. But as Christian Wolmar notes, if support was withdrawn from HS2, ‘the second most daft project after Trident’, funds could be available to ease the pain. All the same, more co-operative ownership of train operating companies and ultimately rolling stock companies could provide a structured route to greater public accountability and control of our railways. You can read Christian Wolmar’s report on the hurdles to be overcome at: http://labourlist.org/2016/01/renationalising-the-railways-is-not-a-total-panacea-for-the-problems-created-by-the-sell-off/ There’s a well-researched and informed CRESC report on the failures of rail privatisation at: http://www.tssa.org.uk/en/campaigns/better-rail/better-rail-resources/ And lastly an interesting piece of research done by ‘The Man in Seat 61’ – the go to site for rail travel in Europe - which busts some myths about rail fares in the UK and on the continent at: http://www.seat61.com/uk-europe-train-fares-comparison.html#.VrzZgubRpVd Kate Whittle & Jeff Turner February 2016 <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ train_image2.jpg.jpg "> <br /> <br /> GO-OP PRESENTATION http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-presentation/ Wed, 20 Jan 2016 05:32 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-presentation/ Here's a link to our latest Powerpoint presentation. Note dated July 2015, details may change. GO-OP Presentation <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP leaflet http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-leaflet/ Wed, 20 Jan 2016 04:50 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-leaflet/ Here you will find a link to our generic leaflet, givien an overview of our aims and operation, and how to sign up. GO-OP Leaflet <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP 2015 AGM Papers http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-2015-agm-papers/ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 01:53 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-2015-agm-papers/ Dear GO-OP Members, I am delighted to invite you to the GO-OP Co-operative AGM to be held on 18th July 2015 in Chippenham, a key station on our Route #1. The full address: The Citadel Hall, First Floor, The Citadel Building, Bath Road, Chippenham SN15 2AB. The venue is 5 minutes’ walk from Chippenham station, see travel information below. The AGM is an ideal opportunity to learn more about our work and have your say in the future of GO-OP. Attendance is not strictly limited to members, other co-operators and potential co-operators are also welcome. So if you have friends or colleagues who are interested in joining, do encourage them to come along, there will be an opportunity to sign up on the day. We are keen to do our bit for the environment, so rather than print and post AGM papers, we have made them available for download below Here you will find Joining Instructions The Agenda Minutes of the 2014 AGM Annual Report Board Motions Standing Orders Election Profiles We look forward to welcoming you to the GO-OP AGM on the 18th July in Chippenham. Kate Whittle, Secretary <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Revised Accounts to December 2013 http://go-op.coop/info/revised-accounts-to-december-2013/ Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:00 -0700 http://go-op.coop/revised-accounts-to-december-2013/ Dear GO-OP Members, You will recall that in November last year we were disappointed to receive the resignations of Directors Stephen Beresford, Richard Cox and Dr. Robin Rees. The resignations were triggered in part by an administrative error in the accounting of Loan-stock in our Annual Accounts. This error has now been corrected and revised Accounts have been filed with the FCA. For your information, the Accounts are available for download here, and will also be available at our AGM in Chippenham in July. Kate Whittle, GO-OP Secretary <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Newsletter Spring 2015 http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-newsletter-spring-2015/ Thu, 19 Mar 2015 02:51 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-newsletter-spring-2015/ Going Forward! In this issue we: find out 'What's the SoAR panel?' - by Alex Lawrie meet Director Andy Spring pay a visit to Chippenham and a date for your diaries - our 2015 AGM will be held in Chippenham on Saturday 18th July <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Newsletter 8 http://go-op.coop/info/newsletter-8/ Fri, 13 Jun 2014 00:09 -0700 http://go-op.coop/newsletter-8/ Going Forward! June 2014 summarises the impact of the West Coast mainline rail franchising fiasco on our progress, we meet Sandra Aldworth, our Finance Director and visit ‘Suindune’ - aka Swindon, a town steeped in railway history and a key junction on our Route #1. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Newsletter 7 http://go-op.coop/info/newsletter-7/ Thu, 28 Nov 2013 08:39 -0700 http://go-op.coop/newsletter-7/ In the Winter 2013 edition of Going Forward! we bring you updates on our Track Access Application and the Enterprise Investment Scheme, meet Stephen Beresford and visit another town on our projected mainline route. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Newsletter 6 http://go-op.coop/info/newsletter-6/ Tue, 04 Jun 2013 10:47 -0700 http://go-op.coop/newsletter-6/ The fallout from last year's rail franchising problems Westbury: another town on our projected Route #1 GO-OP’s social policies A meeting with Alex Lawrie, acting CEO Here's our Summer 2013 Newsletter <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Winter 2012 Newsletter http://go-op.coop/info/winter-2012-newsletter/ Tue, 18 Dec 2012 03:52 -0700 http://go-op.coop/winter-2012-newsletter/ With a brief update, meet the Director - Tim Pearce, more information about the Railway Children charity and an article about an important urban centre on our Route #1 - Birmingham! Here's our Winter 2012 Newsletter <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Co-operative is very pleased to announce its 'adoption' of The Railway Children as our charity http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-co-operative-is-very-pleased-to-announce-its/ Tue, 18 Dec 2012 03:13 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-co-operative-is-very-pleased-to-announce-its/ Railway Children is an international children's charity, fighting for vulnerable children who live alone at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. Railway Children works in the UK, where society often denies their existence, and overseas where in some countries the problem is so prevalent that it has become 'normal'. Vulnerable children who live alone are at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. Children run away from, or are forced to leave, homes where they suffer poverty, violence, abuse or neglect. They find themselves living on the streets because there is nowhere else to go, and no-one left to turn to. Yet problems on the streets are often worse than those they endured at home. In India, East Africa, and the UK, Railway Children works to make a sustainable difference and long-term change by: • reaching children as soon as they arrive on the streets, and intervening before an abuser can; • working with communities to raise awareness and make children more visible; and • lobbying governments to change policies and provide crucial services. Clearly GO-OP is not yet in a position to provide financial support, but we will feature and link to Railway Children here, and we have invited them to speak at our June 2013 AGM. Once we are running services, there will be many opportunities for promoting the work of this excellent charity www.railwaychildren.org.uk <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Annual General Meeting 21st June 2012 http://go-op.coop/info/annual-general-meeting-21st-june-2012/ Mon, 23 Jul 2012 07:46 -0700 http://go-op.coop/annual-general-meeting-21st-june-2012/ A rapt audience heard from Ian Yeowart, CEO of Alliance Rail Holdings talk about his progress from 1997 when he set up Grand Central. It took seven years to get to market on the Sunderland to London route via Northallerton and York, then another three years on the Bradford to London route via Brighouse, Wakefield & Pontefract. This was after Grand Central under Ian’s leadership had successfully secured rights to operate ‘open access’ services on the East Coast Main Line. See our latest newsletter for more information. For an update on progress in 2011, see our Annual Report 2011. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GOing Forward! GO-OP newsletter spring 2012 http://go-op.coop/info/going-forward-go-op-newsletter-spring-2012/ Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:00 -0700 http://go-op.coop/going-forward-go-op-newsletter-spring-2012/ GOing Forward! GO-OP Newsletter Spring 2012 <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ GO-OP-Newsletter-Spring-2012.pdf "> <br /> <br /> Network Rail http://go-op.coop/info/network-rail/ Thu, 01 Mar 2012 00:00 -0700 http://go-op.coop/network-rail/ Recently we have been in communication with Network Rail regarding our preference for a 10 year Track Access Agreement. As members will know, we want to offer up to eight trains each way per day between Westbury and Birmingham, serving Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham, Swindon, Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Solihull. Two-hourly clockface departures 06:00 to 20:00 on weekdays, with additional services on Fridays. Hourly departures in peaks; tidal flow from South in morning, returning from the Midlands in the evening. Weekend services to Weymouth in the summer months. We have received a proposal from CSRE Ltd for the supply of trains which meets our technical and financial requirements and has been included in our business plan going forward’ In addition we are tendering to run a Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) supported service between Salisbury and Westbury. This, combined with the above service, meets Wiltshire County Council’s outputs. The proposed service has been assessed by a reputable independent consultancy as required by the Regulator. What’s next? Supporters have provided us with funds of £400,000 to develop the proposals. We are close to launching our public share offer, at which point we will also be inviting further investment from our members. We will be leasing new rolling stock. The trains will be built overseas, but at least 30% of their value will be UK-sourced, and they will be maintained in the UK, creating new employment. We aim to be signing contracts in June 2012 and the service is planned to commence in the second quarter of 2014. Capital requirements of £3m (mobilisation and capital costs plus working capital) will be raised from a mix of existing investors, financial institutions and bank borrowing. We expect financial performance to be in line with other rail operators, with an average net operating margin of 3–4% over the 10 years. We anticipate being profitable in Trading Year 3 with an average turnover of at least £7 million p.a. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ goop2.jpg "> <br /> <br /> Feedback from 2011 AGM http://go-op.coop/info/feedback-from-2011-agm/ Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:51 -0700 http://go-op.coop/feedback-from-2011-agm/ At a packed and lively AGM yesterday, Go! Co-operative which has been trading as GOCO for some time now, officially changed its name to GOCO Limited. It retains the co-operative structure, but will now be able to use the brand name GOCO in all its operations – for example GOCO CAR – about to announce the launch of the first car club, in Swindon, later this month. The AGM heard two excellent speakers. Chris Irwin, Chair, TravelWatch SouthWest, and Vice-Chair of the European Passengers' Federation was critical of the high cost of UK rail services, blaming Network Rail’s inability to provide infrastructure cost-effectively, the endemic contract and compensation culture and the general inertia of the UK rail industry as a whole. Chris urged the UK rail industry to take lessons from the Continent where rail costs and consequently passenger fares, are significantly lower. The standing room only meeting also heard from Christian Wolmar, the UK's leading transport commentator, journalist and author of the recent report 'Cooperative Rail, a radical solution'. Christian described the recent McNulty report as a recipe for even more fragmentation and outlined what he saw as three opportunities for co-operatives in the UK rail industry, which would however require government sponsorship and support: 1. Network Rail – currently structured as a Company Limited by Guarantee – but lacking in accountability 2. Co-operative franchises or micro-franchises - Passenger rail operation lends itself well to a mutual or co-operative structure, as it is a high volume business with millions of users and a large workforce 3. Small operating companies running station shops or providing engineering services Asked how the UK rail industry could more closely model itself along continental lines, Chris suggested greater flexibility was required – for example avoiding standardization across the industry under circumstances where it’s clearly wasteful. For example, more flexible bus services when demand is low and increased railway services when demand is higher. Both contributors agreed that a major issue for the UK industry is that while the railways are seen as a commercial business and therefore expected to be profitable, roads are subsidized through taxation and rationed by traffic jam – so in the UK it’s ok to subsidise roads, but not railways! Finally Christian mentioned he is climbing the three highest mountains in the UK, Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in aid of the Railway Children charity, and welcomes sponsors at Virgin Money Giving: http://bit.ly/k4TI0C <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Establishing the Swindon car club http://go-op.coop/info/establishing-the-swindon-car-club/ Wed, 04 May 2011 05:40 -0700 http://go-op.coop/establishing-the-swindon-car-club/ There are now approaching 150,000 members of car clubs across the UK with cities, towns and even villages realising the cost, environmental and convenience benefits they offer. Car clubs provide the convenience and cost saving of being able to use cars based in neighbourhoods. They also offer strong savings on carbon through reduced car ownership and promotion of sustainable travel. The first car club in Swindon is well on its way to starting in late spring 2011 under the GO-OP CAR brand, offering local residents and businesses the opportunity of booking a car for an hour or more. Over the last few months, GO-OP has been developing a partnership with Hab Oakus. This is a partnership between Kevin McCloud’s company Hab and housing group GreenSquare. Hab Oakus is developing The Triangle, a high-quality sustainable 42-home development, one mile north of Swindon rail station. As part of the development there will be the provision of a car club to its residents and those living nearby. The car club at The Triangle will be the catalyst for the start of the Swindon car club. "We're very pleased to be working with GO-OP on this vital community-based initiative," said Kevin McCloud. "Car clubs are a fantastic means of allowing people to save money and fuel whilst enjoying the benefits of car ownership." As soon as the first residents move into The Triangle, a car club will be in place, initially with two cars. From this base a car club will be developed into other parts of Swindon. To help accelerate growth and impact, a current priority is to establish a strong business base through use of a high quality technical partner (to provide online bookings and walk-up car activation) and investor partners such as Swindon Borough Council and a car-based sponsor. More information on car clubs across the United Kingdom is available at www.carplus.org.uk <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Update on Mid Hants Link rail service http://go-op.coop/info/update-on-mid-hants-link-rail-service/ Fri, 08 Apr 2011 05:55 -0700 http://go-op.coop/update-on-mid-hants-link-rail-service/ GO! Co-operative Limited - trading as GO-OP - a multi-stakeholder sustainable travel co-operative, has announced plans to reschedule its postponed ‘low carbon’ local rail service in Hampshire. GO-OP is in on-going negotiations with partners including Hampshire County Council and Mid Hants Railway, and with their continued support, plans to reschedule the resumption of the service later in 2011. The Mid Hants Link was originally scheduled to proceed in January 2011 but was delayed due to technical issues affecting the lightweight railcar. The railcar suffered damage to its electrical system in transit and as testing began, a hydrostatic pump suffered a catastrophic failure which could not be repaired within an acceptable timeframe. Chris Phillimore of GO-OP said: “Reluctantly and understandably, GO-OP and our partners took the decision to suspend the poject until the technical issues with the railcar could be fully resolved and we could offer a reliable service. We remain even more determined to develop Ultra Light Rail projects in the United Kingdom. The knowledge and expertise we have gained in developing and promoting the Mid Hants Link has made us even more convinced of the business case for Ultra Light Rail, based on co-operative principles.” In addition to seeking to operate the Mid Hants Link service later in 2011, GO-OP is now exploring opportunities to work with other partners across the UK. Through the work undertaken with the Mid Hants Link, other similar Ultra Light Rail projects have emerged and GO-OP is reviewing the various opportunities on offer. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Annual General Meeting of Go! Co-operative http://go-op.coop/info/annual-general-meeting-of-go-co-operative/ Wed, 06 Apr 2011 06:30 -0700 http://go-op.coop/annual-general-meeting-of-go-co-operative/ The Annual General Meeting of Go! Co-operative will be held on 8 June 2011 at: The GreenHouse, Hereford Street Bristol BS3 4NA (click here for map) Tel: 0117 923 1800 The meeting will start at 2pm, with a buffet lunch available from 1.30. We are delighted to confirm that our keynote speakers will be Chris Irwin, Chair, TravelWatch SouthWest and Christian Wolmar, the UK's leading transport commentator, journalist and author of the recent report 'Cooperative Rail, a radical solution'. For more details, please contact kate.whittle@goco.coop <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ greenhouse2.jpg "> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Mid Hants Link rail trial to be postponed http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-mid-hants-link-rail-trial-to-be-postponed/ Mon, 24 Jan 2011 13:57 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-mid-hants-link-rail-trial-to-be-postponed/ PRESS STATEMENT                    24 JANUARY 2011 GO-OP Mid Hants Link rail trial to be postponed GO! Co-operative Limited trading as GO-OP, a multi-stakeholder sustainable travel co-operative, has announced that the trial period for its Mid Hants Link rail service – originally scheduled to begin on 24 January 2011 – is now postponed until further notice. Following technical issues encountered during the testing programme, it has not been possible to repair the vehicle ahead of the scheduled launch of the public service. Work will continue to address the technical issues with the existing vehicle and during this time, alternative options for a replacement vehicle will also be considered. Chris Phillimore, Business Development Director for GO-OP, said: "We have been very heartened by the overwhelmingly positive response to the concept of the service and feel more confident about its long term success than even when we began planning six months ago. We are committed to providing a reliable high-quality service and will not commence operations with any type of vehicle until we can be satisfied that this can be delivered. We are confident that a suitable solution can be identified and that the trial will go ahead in the very near future." Further announcements will be made when the technical issues have been resolved or an alternative vehicle has been sourced. Posters will be distributed and GO-OP staff will be present at Alton and Medstead & Four Marks stations on Monday 24 January 2011 to inform any passengers of the postponement of the trial service. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> Mid Hants Link update http://go-op.coop/info/mid-hants-link-update/ Wed, 19 Jan 2011 08:10 -0700 http://go-op.coop/mid-hants-link-update/ GO! Co-operative Limited trading as GO-OP, a multi-stakeholder sustainable travel co-operative, has today announced that for technical reasons, the company has been unable to complete the planned testing programme as scheduled before placing the vehicle into public service. GO-OP is committed to providing high quality public service and will not commence the trial until it is completely satisfied that it can deliver a reliable operation. The company expects that the service will now commence on 31 January and this will be confirmed at least a week in advance. Chris Phillimore, Business Development Director for GO-OP, added: “To date, GO-OP has received an overwhelmingly positive response to the proposed service. There has been significant interest from the public and pending the early resolution of these short-term technical issues, we remain committed to delivering a high quality rail service for customers of the Mid Hants Link.” <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/"> <br /> <br /> GO-OP Mid Hants Link launch http://go-op.coop/info/go-op-mid-hants-link-launch/ Fri, 14 Jan 2011 04:03 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-op-mid-hants-link-launch/ GO! Co-operative Limited trading as GO-OP, a multi-stakeholder sustainable travel co-operative, has announced that it is to trial a unique ‘low carbon’ local rail service in Hampshire this month. It will be the first time that a co-operative has operated a rail service in the UK. Click HERE for more details. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ Visual-of-PPM.jpg "> <br /> <br /> January 2011 newsletter http://go-op.coop/info/january-2011-newsletter/ Mon, 10 Jan 2011 00:12 -0700 http://go-op.coop/january-2011-newsletter/ Read all the latest news and start of the GOCO Mid Hants Link in the January 2011 newsletter. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ GOCO-newsletter-Jan-2011.pdf "> <br /> <br /> Update December 2010 http://go-op.coop/info/update-december-2010/ Tue, 30 Nov 2010 04:26 -0700 http://go-op.coop/update-december-2010/ Go! supporters will be keen to know what has been happening behind the scenes at Go! since our successful launches back in the spring of 2010. Earlier this year we commissioned industry experts AECOM to carry out a marketing exercise to establish the level of demand for our first route, which we identified as Yeovil to Oxford via various station stops including Swindon. On the basis of this research we have been carrying out negotiations with Network Rail and the office of the Rail Regulator. We expect to launch the rail service in December 2011. We have developed a business plan for the car club section of our business, and we anticipate launching the first car club in Swindon in March 2011. The Go! team have been busy deciding on a new name and logo (for trading reasons we are unable to use the single word Go and exclamation mark in our name) - and we aim to relaunch the web site with the new name and logo in early 2011. The name we will be trading under is GOCO (with sub-brands GOCO-train, GOCO-car and GOCO-bus). Look out for our Winter newsletter to be published mid December! <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ go-2.jpg "> <br /> <br /> Go! Launches in Yeovil, Trowbridge, Swindon & Oxford a great success http://go-op.coop/info/go-launches-in-yeovil-trowbridge-swindon-and-ox/ Mon, 26 Apr 2010 04:40 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-launches-in-yeovil-trowbridge-swindon-and-ox/ Four packed launch events heard details of Go!'s proposed first route as well as the associated bus services and car clubs which we aim to set up. CEO Keith Vingoe and Business Development and Operations Manager Chris Phillimore gave a detailed overview of where and how the services will be operated, whilst Go! Secretary Kate Whittle described the co-operative structure and how people can become members. Kate explained the two-tier membership structure, in which you can become a user-member for as little as £100 (payable in instalments) or an investor (non-user) member, for which the minimum investment is £500. See our Spring 2010 Offer Document for more information. You can become a member! Click here to download the Spring 2010 Offer Document, complete the application form and post to us with your cheque. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ Go-Team.jpg "> <br /> <br /> Go! Co-op FAQs http://go-op.coop/info/go-co-op-faqs/ Wed, 14 Apr 2010 07:58 -0700 http://go-op.coop/go-co-op-faqs/ Some answers to the many questions we've been asked recently. Click here to download a Go! Co-op FAQs sheet. <br /> <br /> <br /> <img src="http://go-op.coop/workspace/images/ Go-Co-op-FAQs.jpg "> <br /> <br />